“Operation Dry Spring” Considered Extremely Successful - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

“Operation Dry Spring” Considered Extremely Successful

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As spring break comes to a close across the Panhandle, so does a 5 week push from the Florida Association of Sheriffs promoting zero tolerance for underage use of alcohol and drug use.

Results of  "Operation Dry Spring" are considered "unprecedented."

Statewide, 37 counties participated in the push, resulting in over 5000 arrests.

Nearly 3000 came from Bay County and Walton, alone.

"If you'll see the smiles from law enforcement out in the crowd it's because we've survived another spring break," joked Major Tommy Ford of the Bay County Sheriff's Office; however, the reason they gathered on Thursday was no laughing matter.

"Our goal was to protect the well being of spring breakers in Florida by targeting the youth in possession of alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs with an emphasis in synthetic narcotics," said Florida Association of Sheriff's Executive Director, Steve Casey.

The operation promoted zero tolerance, and across Bay and Walton Counties the message was clear.

"If you're underage and you've got alcohol, you're going to get arrested," said Major AJ Smith of the Walton County Sheriff's Office.

"I will tell you as a sheriff, the toughest thing you will ever have to do is to knock on that door and say, "I'm sorry Ms. Johnson, your son or daughter is not coming home tonight because of an alcohol related incident," added Walton County Sheriff, Mike Adkinson.

Adkinson was proud to be a state leader in curbing underage alcohol, with 1008 arrests.

They are joined by Bay County, who sported over 1800 underage alcohol arrests.

Together, they hold a record breaking 3039 arrests, which accounts for more than half of the statewide total for 37 counties.

"We're trying to save lives and I think sometimes with college students they don't realize the importance of what this means or the potential ramifications for their behavior," said Adkinson.

Operation Dry Spring was also a push to ensure business owners did not sell alcohol to minors, as well as a move to curb the sell of synthetic drugs.

All agreed the operation was a way to prepare them even better for future spring break seasons.