All seemed well early Monday night when Seaside Heights Chief of Detectives Steven Korman and his family watched the fireworks display, then hit the boardwalk.
"It was calm," Korman said. "We just walked on the boardwalk, got ice cream. I had my mother-in-law in a wheelchair with us."
The Korman family left between 10 p.m. and 10:30, he said.
But things changed on the boardwalk not long after.
Large crowds began to gather. Fights broke out in various areas of the boardwalk. Police had to use mace in some instances, Korman said.
"I don't know what happened," said Korman, who could not recall a time when the boardwalk was shut down completely. "It obviously isn't a normal thing. I don't know what went wrong."
The disturbances continued to escalate to the point where Seaside Heights Police Chief Thomas J. Boyd made the decision to shut the boardwalk down and call for assistance from Toms River and Lavallette, Korman said.
"The chief just said "Enough" and shut it down," he said.
In the end, 62 people - 59 adults and three juveniles - were arrested on a variety of charges.There were 39 disorderly persons arrests, two criminal trespass arrests, seven for interfering with a police investigation, four outstanding warrants, three assaults and seven for controlled dangerous substances, Korman said.
The department has a specific number of officers assigned to shifts on weekends. They patrol the boardwalk area on foot, on bikes, in cars and undercover, he said.
The police department not only has to consider the safety of visitors and residents, but business owners and their employees on the boardwalk, Korman said.
Department officials plan to review all the arrests and discuss whether changes need to be made, he said.
"We'll look at it," Korman said. "I don't think we'll really have to make any changes.This was just out of the blue. Every year it seems different. Every holiday seems different."
The borough had a record day for the number of beach badges sold, Mayor P. Kenneth Hershey said Tuesday morning.
"Our beaches were jammed yesterday," he said "We must be doing something right when people love to come here. Daytime is when our nice visitors come here."
But the late night, early morning hours are different, the mayor said.
"Some rowdies come down," Hershey said. "But the police are there to meet them."
Hershey, who lives on Carteret Avenue in the first house MTV used to film "Jersey Shore," said he planned to speak with Police Chief Thomas Boyd shortly.
"We haven't had any problems till now," he said.