Panama City Police Traffic Unit on Heightened Patrol - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Panama City Police Traffic Unit on Heightened Patrol; Chase Suspect

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A traffic stop is one of the deadliest encounters officers face. That's one of the reasons Panama City Police Department dedicates an entire unit to traffic enforcement.

"Highway 231 is going to be one of the major routes that people are going to be coming into town on for spring break," said Sergeant Jon Morris.

With Panama City acting as a main artery for spring breakers and vacationers to get to their beach destination that unit is on heightened patrol.

"Not necessarily to target spring breakers, but the problems that necessarily arrive with the increased traffic we have in the city," said Morris.

Panama City Traffic Unit even adjusts their schedules during the busy season to accommodate for increased traffic.

"Our department and even the regular officers that are on patrol are very aggressive for looking for DUI's," said Morris. "Especially at night."

In a ride along Thursday, News13 witnessed officers assisting in a traffic stop after a passenger fled on foot. The subject quickly ran down a dead end street and after a short foot chase officers caught up with the suspect. Curtis Kirk was arrested for outstanding warrants.

"When another officer asks for help there's usually something that's not right about the situation and he needs help," said Morris. "It ended up paying off by the other officers being in the area."

Panama City's Traffic Unit will provide mutual aid to Panama City Beach Police Department during spring break. This added patrol will offer more enforcement when the numbers heavily outweigh officers.

"The increase in officers especially the guys with traffic expertise will help them out keeping the roadways safe," said Morris.

That mutual aid started Thursday. Florida Highway Patrol, Bay County Sheriff's Office, Panama City Police, and the Department of Alcohol and Tobacco will also be assisting.