New plans in the works from the Panama City Beach Police Department

Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 7:45 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Providing the best safety for our community starts with making sure enough attention is going to where it’s needed. The Panama City Beach Police Department will soon have a new plan in place when dealing with false fire or security alarms, like fining repeat offenders.

“The majority of our alarm calls are false alarms, this year so far we’ve had 1,173 false alarms,” said Panama City Beach Police Chief Drew Whitman. “It’s taken away resources that we could really use.”

“It is a large strain on city resources and the taxpayer resources to have these police officers and fire department respond to these large volume of false alarms that we see,” said Panama City Beach Vice Mayor and Ward 3 Councilman Geoff McConnell.

With more time to put towards positive resources for the city, the police department has been awarded a few grants, like the Bicycle Pedestrian Focused Initiative that officers will volunteer for on Saturday nights.

“The officers will go out there and they’ll stop pedestrians and remind them hey use the crosswalk if there’s a button hit the button so the intersection will be lit up and people can see you,” said Chief Whitman. “Bicyclists we’ll stop and talk to them, if they don’t have lights on we’ll issue those out.”

The Panama City Beach Police Department has been taking every step it can to ensure safety in the community, and that was reflected in The City of Panama City Beach Citizens Survey that was conducted this month.

“They’re second to none,” said Councilman McConnell. “They do such a great job in this community, so it makes my heart glad to see that the community recognized that.”

Despite the praises, the department is still looking to do better.

“They’re great numbers, but I want to do better for our community, they deserve better,” said Chief Whitman. “It’s my job to give them the best I can give them.”

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