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Panama City Beach leaders to improve safety on beach after Memorial Weekend

Mayhem over the weekend in Panama City Beach has city leaders ramping up patrols heading into...
Mayhem over the weekend in Panama City Beach has city leaders ramping up patrols heading into the summer. (WJHG/WECP)(WJHG)
Published: May. 26, 2020 at 11:40 PM CDT
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Panama City Beach drew large crowds over Memorial Day weekend.

“The numbers we saw this weekend were like a massive Fourth of July weekend. It’s the largest Memorial Day weekend Panama City Beach has seen in years,” said Panama City Beach Mayor Mark Sheldon.

Many say the large crowd led to several problems. Mayor Sheldon said the police department received more than 1,500 calls over the three days.

“We had more calls for service for the police department this year on Memorial Day weekend than we have any year in the previous six years,” said Sheldon.

Sheldon said they’re disturbed by some of the things that took place over the weekend, including a video of a fight at a local gas station on the corner of Front Beach Road and Thomas Drive, which left a man unconscious on the ground with blood pooling around his head.

“We’re taking it very seriously. We are very concerned about some of the things we saw last weekend and we won’t stand for that in Panama City Beach. Going forward, there will be a new order in the way,” said Sheldon.

Tuesday, Panama City Beach city officials met with Police Chief Drew Whitman to talk about new safety measures to keep peace on the beach during the summer.

“We had about 25 officers on duty at night time this last weekend. This weekend you’re going to see 50 officers on duty during that same time,” said Sheldon.

Sheldon says the city is also considering putting restrictions in place to maintain social distancing on the beach. They’re also working with business owners near “crime hotspots” to come up with ways to improve safety throughout the city.

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