TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
As the weather warms and the sunny days become more frequent, it becomes clear that spring is fast approaching. Nearby, Panama City Beach and Panama City become spring break destinations for many young people across the nation.
Spring break festivities also draw the attention of military members from local installations such as Tyndall, Eglin Air Force Base, Hurlburt Field, and other installations in neighboring states. During this season, military members may find themselves in higher risk situations than they normally experience.
A total of 11 Tyndall Airmen were arrested during the 2017 Spring Break season for alcohol-related incidents. Five were arrested for driving under the influence, five for disorderly conduct, and one for battery.
In a release by the Panama City News Herald, Panama City Beach Police Chief Drew Whitman said there were 82 spring break related arrests throughout the first six days of March 2018.
The Panama City Beach police department will strictly enforce the newly enacted Spring Break laws. These laws are regulated only through the month of March. The laws are as follows:
All alcohol sales end at 2 a.m. throughout the month of March.
- Metal shovels are not permitted on the beach and any holes dug in the sand should be no deeper than 2 feet.
- Drinking alcoholic beverages on the sandy beach is prohibited during the month of March.
- Possession and consumption of alcohol is prohibited in the commercial parking lots.
- Parking in a closed business parking lot is prohibited.
- Overnight scooter rentals are not permitted.
- It is illegal to climb, jump from or throw things from balconies.
- Parking is prohibited on unmarked or unpaved portions of the road after dark.
According to Tyndall First Sergeant’s Group Master Sgt. Jacob Arbogast, 325th Security Forces Squadron, and Master Sgt. Jeffery Hunter, 325th Force Support Squadron, Tyndall AFB beaches and Shell Island do not fall under the jurisdiction of these newly enacted laws.
The Tyndall Safety office shared a few tips to help Airmen enjoy their spring break season while accounting for increased risk scenarios:
The strongest sun rays are between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Before heading outdoors, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.
- Stay in groups of two or more. A larger group of people presents a harder target of opportunity for an attacker or predator.
- Drink responsibly and have a plan. If your plan fails, call Airmen Against Drunk Driving at (850) 867-0220. The First Sergeant’s program Ride-For-Life can also be used by calling either Fast Cab, (850) 236-0502 or Affordable Taxi, (850) 233-0029. AADD and Ride-For-Life will pick up Team Tyndall members and take them home free of charge.
"Safety and security must be in the forefront of our minds," said Col. Michael Hernandez, 325th Fighter Wing commander. "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Have a plan, have a wingman, and continue to watch out for one another."