The Edgartown Parks Department gathered on Monday at the South Beach guard shack for Dennis Arnold’s last day as the head of the South Beach Park Patrol. Mr. Arnold is retiring after 29 years of patrolling the beach, since the Beach Patrol’s inception in 1988. It is not confirmed yet who will replace him.
“He’s the face of the beach,” said Jessica McGroarty, Edgartown parks administrator. What started as a one-man job back then soon became a department of guards and patrol officers dedicated to keeping the beaches safe, fun, and free for everyone. It’s a massive beach, which Mr. Arnold said he has seen get more dangerous over the years.
His crew took turns on the speaker of a police car thanking him for his work and sharing the woes of beach patrol, honest speeches which brought several of Mr. Arnold’s coworkers to tears. Mr. Arnold said, “It’s been 30 years of nothing but fun.” Most know it as South Beach, but the park has a differen
t name for the family of employees out there. As park patroller Dan Townes puts it, “This is Dennis Arnold’s beach.”