Law Enforcement Gearing Up for Spring Break

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. - It's spring break time in Panama City Beach and while the days of the beach being packed with college students may be over, local law enforcement said they're not taking any chances.

"It's business as usual," said Chief Drew Whitman, Panama City Beach Police Department.

The Beach Police Department is researching hotel and condo bookings around the beach.

"We're expecting something similar to last year, if not a little bit slower than we were last year," said Whitman.

They will still have the same amount of resources for a second year of new laws.

"We've been beefed up for the last several years, but last year we enacted new ordinances for the city. There's no drinking on the beaches, there's no alcohol sales after 2:00 a.m., no digging holes, you've got to have an I.D. if you're consuming alcoholic beverages. Same ordinances we had last year, we didn't change anything. We're going to run the same pattern," said Whitman.

Chief Whitman said they will again call in reinforcement from surrounding cities and counties.

"They're going to come out and assist us, as needed. If we don't have the crowds that we've had in year's past then we'll be able to downgrade a little bit and send some of the officers home," said Whitman.

Over at the Bay County Sheriff's Office, they have made a few changes from last year.

"We've been planning for months for spring break as part of our process to make sure that we've go the appropriate resources out there to ensure public safety, and ensure that spring break's a manageable event," said Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford.

They've decided not to bring any extra help in this year, but they will have additional deputies and officers on stand-by from surrounding counties, just in case.

"At this point, with what we're anticipating I don't think we'll be needing those, but it's good to have that available should it be necessary," said Ford.

Tuesday the Bay County Commission approved $140,000 be set aside to reimburse the sheriff's office should they need extra resources.

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