Crunching the Numbers: How Busy has Spring Break Been for Emergency Officials?

By: Bryan Anderson Email
By: Bryan Anderson Email

Panama City Beach was noticeably empty Sunday. Seagulls and a few skim boarders were about the only ones NewsChannel 7 found riding out the rainy conditions.

It was a stark difference to what the area has seen the past two weeks of Spring Break. Thousands of college students have flooded the area keeping local law enforcement extremely busy.

"We have our ATV units out there patrolling. making sure everything is safe, responding to calls directly on the water," said Panama City Beach Police Officer Shaun Maguadog.

The past 72 hours may have been the busiest. The Panama City Beach Police Department said it received nearly 1,200 emergency calls.

"It can be anything from a lost cell phone, a battery, underage drinking, somebody thinks they smell some drugs out on the beach. It's all sorts of things all at the same time. There are the concerts that are going on. That's where all the fun is, throwing footballs, they're drinking," Officer Maguadog said.

When those concerts and beach events end, the focus turns to the streets.

"When they all start going down south Thomas, that becomes a choke point. There's a lot of people coming from all different parts of the beach and they're all coming to that one spot," Maguadog told NewsChannel 7.

Officer Maguadog said authorities ran into that very problem Saturday night.

"We did have units respond, help guide them, disperse them, give them alternate routes."

And if the sheer number of spring breakers wasn't enough on local law enforcement, there are the few who make their jobs even more difficult. But for the most part Maguadog said spring breakers have been cooperative.

"They understand that there's going to be some cutting through with the police officers, and our ambulances, and our fire department because we have to go from point A to point B just like they do, but we're here to help them, and we might be running to their friends."

We're nearly half way through the spring break season with 3 more weeks to go.


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