Update at 10:45 a.m. — The Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office has identified the four people ticked during an 8-hour sting at Second Dam Wednesday, which was intended to dissuade people from illegally swimming in the gorge.

The following people were arrested and ticketed:

—Richard N. Evans, 22, of Delaware, New Jersey
—Daniel K. Pak, 22, of Delron, New Jersey
—Justin M. Dobran, 22, of Delran, New Jersey
—Francisco C. Valazquez, 22, of Liverpool

The four men are scheduled to appear in the town of Ithaca Court August 5 at 4 p.m.

ITHACA, N.Y. — Two days after a 20-year-old man died while cliff jumping at Second Dam, about a dozen police officials gathered at the gorge to write tickets to illegal swimmers.

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The effort was a joint move by the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office and Ithaca Police Department.

Sheriff ken Lansing, Officer Jamie Williamson and Common Council member Cynthia Brock talk about how to curb illegal activity at Second Dam.

“We want to set the tone that swimming here is illegal and unacceptable,” Sheriff Kenneth Lansing said.

He said tickets range from $50 to $250, depending on the judge who oversees the incident.

Four people were ticketed for trespassing during the 8-hour sting, and people carrying towels turned away from the area upon seeing police.

IPD Police Chief John Barber said the large police presence is also meant to remind people that officials are cracking down on partying in the area.

Police Chief John Barber, Acting Deputy Chief Vincent Monticello, and other Ithaca community members talk about cutting down a rope people use to swing into the gorge from more than 30 feet up.

He said people on the nearby trails and residents in the area have complained about noise, large parties, drug use and drinking at the dam.

“It’s the overall behavior that’s unacceptable,” he said, but added that people’s safety is also a priority for police.

He said people who jump and swim in the gorge are taking a major risk that has cost others their life.

“They’re playing a very dangerous game of Russian Roulette. The water is always moving,” he said, which moves floating debris into the dam.

Barber said the perception that it’s safe to be in the water because, until Sunday, it had been years since someone died there is flawed.

Police give three men tickets for trespassing after they stood in Second Dam fishing. 

In the 22 years since he’s been an officer, he said police have been called to Second Dam to help people with major injuries, including paralysis.

Yet he and other officers said people keep coming back to swim and cliff jump.

Officers left the dam area around 7 p.m., Lansing said.

At 7:11 p.m. five young women came down a trail leading to Second Dam. Within minutes, they were swimming in the water.

They posed with their thumbs up when they heard they’d missed a police sting by minutes.

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.