Walton County Cracks Down Spring Break Law Breakers - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Walton County Cracks Down Spring Break Law Breakers

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With spring break on full blast across the Florida Panhandle, law breaking is perhaps expected, but Walton County is taking enforcement to the max, protecting their home from harm and inappropriate conduct.

The Sheriff's office has arrested over 330 spring breakers in the last 4 days.

From disruptive behavior to underage drinking and an open house party that resulted in the arrest of 32 on Monday, Walton County is sending a message to spring breakers: "behave or get busted."

"We anticipate by the end of this week to go somewhere in the neighborhood of 500," said Walton County Sheriff Mike Adkinson of arrests made.

The staggering number is perhaps a credit to the Sheriff's office new approach to combating spring break belligerency.

"We're trying to set the tone for what the conduct we expect. We're just asking people to treat our home like it's their home," said Adkinson.

He said that starts with being proactive. Wednesday, deputies patrolled the roads and beaches, checking id's and potential adult beverages in the wrong hands.

Adkinson said this strict approach is what the traditional South Walton community desires; a community where some have said they don't want spring break here at all.

"I think that is absolutely the case as far as conduct of spring break is concerned. I think we certainly want families and young people to come and enjoy, but this community will certainly not accept that kind of behavior," said Adkinson.

In the last two years, Walton County's rise in spring break popularity has been evident, but why?

"Destin has been known to be a good, clean area, as far as compared to Panama...it's kinda dirty. It is wild, but Destin has the same perks," said Mississippi State Student, Eric Manduca.

For Manduca and his friends, id checks are a small price to pay for a "classier" beach.

"When you're in college, the older crowd at least, wants to go to a place where you're not bothered by an underage crowd...the less mature people," he said.

They can be sure the Sheriff's Office is out to make their point.

"We have intended for about 8 or 9 months now to send a clear message, that if you come, we expect you to obey the law and be safe," said Adkinson.

Last year, over 1,100 arrests were made during the entire spring break period. Adkinson expects this year the number will be higher.

Adkinson said it will not be uncommon for 65 deputies to be patrolling hot spots during peak times. It's all part of his "zero tolerance" approach in keep spring breakers from breaking the law.