Arrests put early stop to spring break

Bikinis, beaches, martinis and wait-handcuffs? Imagine walking down the Panama City Beach strip and a police offi cer asks for your ID-but you left it in the car.

“Click” is the sound of handcuffs and an early end to spring break.

This year Panama City Beach police have curtailed a few college students’ vacations with their massive number of arrests. During FAMU Spring Break, a little over 230 students were arrested for possession and consumption of alcohol alone.

March 1, marked the beginning of spring break in Panama City. That is the day Panama City Beach Police kicked off their “spring break season” bust. Captain Ron Crownson with the Panama City Beach Police Department said that the “season” ends April 15th. “We have out of town state troopers here along with beverage agents helping us,” said Crownson.

According to Crownson’s reports, as of March 1, PCBPD has given 566 warnings, issued 1,410 traffic citations, arrested 804 people and written 204 crash reports. These numbers consist of majority college students.

Agents from the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco said students do not realize the seriousness of underage drinking.

Every year over half a million spring breakers make their way to the Florida panhandle to party, tan, and in many cases get extremely intoxicated. The enforcement’s primary mission is to prevent underage youth from consuming alcoholic beverages, but students argue that they have greater intentions.

“It was ridiculous. Every where I turned there was a group of police harassing students for just breathing, I look to my right there was an offi cer questioning a group of students, and to my left students were laying on police cars getting handcuffed,” said Lindsey Hixon,
20, a third-year nursing student from Pensacola who spent half of her spring break in Panama City.

Hixon said there were a few Florida A&M students accounted for in that large number of arrests, “A friend of mine and his brother were arrested for playing loud music.”

The anticipated warm weather has several Tallahassee students taking the quick drive to Panama City this weekend to fi nish their spring break venture.

They can expect 24 hour parties hosted by groups like Student City, an organization which specializes in student trips, concerts, travel packages.

Some students said they hope travelers will be careful when going to PCB.

“I advise students to be careful, always carry their ID’s and be sure not to walk around with exposed alcoholic beverages”, said Jessica Davis, 20, a third-year business administration student from Washington D.C.

Davis will be one among many students traveling back to Panama City this weekend. “I just want to enjoy myself”.