Spring Break has always been a high-risk time for police, but students who choose to take part in the event are crossing lines of civility and law enforcement. After violent incidents broke out across college campuses last year, many cities have opted not to host those events or change their policing strategies during that timeframe. Government officials hope this will make it less likely that people feel like they’re getting away with something by breaking the law
Unruly spring breakers have caused law enforcement authorities to impose curfews and forced several nightlife venues to lock their doors in tourist areas from Miami Beach to the Florida Panhandle.
Police in Bay County, Florida, made it plain on Sunday that disruptive conduct by spring breakers would not be tolerated. Their statement comes after a 21-year-old Alabama man was hurt in a shooting incident in Panama City Beach on Sunday, as well as five individuals were injured in gunfire in Miami’s South Beach district last week.
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Following Sunday’s shooting, Panama City Beach Police Chief J.R. Talamantez stated, “There are no words that can express the way the audience has behaved themselves, handled themselves, and the number of laws they have violated.” “We’re doing all we can to control the problem.”
Six people were arrested after police were warned that a big gathering had grown out of hand immediately before the gunshot incident happened yesterday afternoon. Officials said they might face attempted murder charges in connection with the incident, according to the Associated Press.
Law enforcement police also confiscated 75 firearms, which were displayed on a table in front of a press conference in Panama City Beach on Monday.
During what he described as a “tough, challenging, and hazardous weekend,” Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said 161 individuals were arrested and brought into the county prison. He said that 78 of those detained in connection with the event were Alabama residents.
“Each of these 75 illicit guns constitutes a violent armed interaction with law enforcement,” according to the report “According to Ford. “This weekend might have easily culminated in a catastrophe involving the death of a law enforcement officer, a civilian, or even a bad person.””
The commercial area of Pier Park in Panama City Beach, Florida. (image courtesy of benedek/iStock Unreleased)
After the weekend’s incident, Panama City police Chief Mark Smith claimed that several of the city’s nightclubs voluntarily shut down on Sunday night.
Officials did point out that the folks that were arrested were not normal spring breakers. “These are criminals that come to our city with the goal of doing some form of act,” Smith said.
Talamantez claimed “nothing is off the table” when asked if a curfew will be implemented on Panama City Beach. Law enforcement authorities are currently assessing the situation, according to him, and expect to meet on Friday to address it.
“I understand the folks’ dissatisfaction. Believe me, we’re upset as well “Talamantez said the following. “The unpleasant fact is that we have no control over who visits our community. We can’t control what happens to you if you commit a crime in this community, but we can control what happens to you if you do. We’ll hold you responsible.”