By Joe Capozzi

Briny Breezes officials are endorsing a possible plan by the Ocean Ridge Police Department to patrol a private townhouse community just outside the town limits. 
Ocean Ridge is in negotiations to provide police services to Gulf Stream Views, a community of 14 townhomes that opened in 2022 just south of Briny Breezes Boulevard in the County Pocket. 
Ocean Ridge officers already patrol Briny Breezes under a contract with the mobile- home community, which is immediately south of Ocean Ridge.
If the Gulf Stream Views deal can be reached, it would offer an increased police presence in Briny Breezes, Ocean Ridge Police Chief Richard Jones told the Town Council on Dec. 8. 
“Based on what they are asking from us and what we would be providing, it is definitely an enhancement to the security within Briny Breezes,’’ he said.
Jones said he has spoken with officials at Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, which patrols the roughly 2-acre Gulf Stream Views site, and was told they would have no objections to turning it over to Ocean Ridge if an agreement can be reached.
“I think it’s a great idea,’’ said Briny Mayor Gene Adams. 
Adams also voiced his endorsement in a conversion with Ocean Ridge Vice Mayor Kristine de Haseth. 
“Not only does it benefit the townhomes, but it benefits by default folks in Briny and also folks in the surf pocket. I think it is a wonderful idea,’’ de Haseth said. 
At the Dec. 5 Ocean Ridge Town Commission meeting, when Jones first mentioned publicly that Gulf Stream Views wants to negotiate with Ocean Ridge, no explanation was offered for why the townhouse community is exploring a new police service option instead of just sticking with PBSO.
Maria Beckett, president of the Gulf Stream Views Homeowners Association, told commissioners the community initially had private security brought in by the developer, but the association didn’t retain the security firm for budget reasons. 
Jones told The Coastal Star he believes the community wants more frequent patrols and quicker response times. “They just want to feel safer and have a faster response time in general.”
Beckett said the townhomes recently installed two license-plate recognition cameras which will benefit the south end of Briny Breezes.
Ocean Ridge Commissioner Geoff Pugh said he supports the plan “as long as it doesn’t affect the level of service the police provide to Ocean Ridge and Briny Breezes.”
“I know the sheriff wants to get rid of the County Pocket, so you never know what comes down the line,’’ Pugh said. 
Jones, who plans to bring back a formal proposal to the Ocean Ridge Town Commission in early 2023, said the level of service his department provides to Ocean Ridge and Briny Breezes would not be affected. 
“It’s definitely an enhancement to the security in Briny Breezes,’’ the chief said. “This is a partnership more than anything and it’s beneficial to all three communities.’’ 

Praise for town manager
Town Manager William Thrasher wanted the council to delete a provision in his contract requiring him to provide four weeks’ notice before taking any vacation. He got that and more as council members showered him with praise for his work before granting his request. 
“I think our town manager is doing an incredible job and any questions or changes he may request should be granted,’’ Alderman Bill Birch said. 
“In the short term I have been here, his work is awesome,’’ said Alderwoman Liz Loper.
Thrasher, who this month enters his fourth year as Briny Breezes’ town manager, said he appreciated the words of support. He said he asked the council to delete the advance-notice rule because it was nearly impossible for him to schedule any time off that far in advance. 
“I thought it was time to clean that up because I felt a little guilty about it,’’ he said after the meeting.

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