As temperatures climbed above a sultry 90 degrees Saturday, opening day for St. Paul’s outdoor aquatic centers, Como Regional Park Pool was a popular and busy destination.
But the day was marred by reports of a group of four to six youths, ages 12 to 16, who verbally threatened staff members and harassed patrons. Police had to respond and they kicked out several unruly youths.
And it was enough to persuade area residents to use social media to call for increased security at the St. Paul pool.
“I want to alert the neighborhood and get your support for increased security at Como Regional Park Pool,” one woman wrote. “[Saturday] was opening day, and unfortunately, the police had to be called twice.”
On Monday, Mike Hahm, St. Paul Parks and Recreation director, said that while pool staff handled the situation “exactly as I would expect,” parks officials will review reports to determine if additional action needs to be taken.
“Our internal Park Security maintains a presence in the Como Regional Park area and responded promptly to the initial call from staff,” Hahm said in a statement issued Monday. “When the dismissed patrons returned to the facility a second time, staff then called [St. Paul Police], which also responded promptly.”
St. Paul police confirmed Monday that they responded to two calls from the pool, but no one was arrested.
The old Como pool was closed in 2008 and was extensively redesigned. It reopened in June 2012 with a full slate of amenities, including a six-lane, 25-yard lap pool and an adjacent pool with a zero-depth entry, as well as a lazy river, water guns, spouts, rides and short slides mounted along the deck, geared more toward families and younger visitors.
A dozen digital cameras are mounted to watch the pool around the clock to guard against vandalism, and to record activities and serve as training tools for the lifeguard staff.
Hahm said that “the majority of the Como Pool customers had a great experience” Saturday and he praised the 45 staff and three supervisors for providing “great service.”
Still, he said, “we are in the process of reviewing staff reports, per procedure, both in terms of our systems and also any further banning action to take related to the customers that were dismissed from the pool on Saturday. We are always looking to improve services, and are looking forward to a fun summer at all of the pools and water facilities.”