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City Council approves plan to manage weekend crowds

Post Date:05/28/2020 2:41 PM

Drew interview 

Immediate and Long-Term Strategies to Reduce Large Group
and Individual Disturbances in Panama City Beach

  • Surge our Police Department presence this weekend, particularly on the east end of the City by retaining 40 additional local police officers for Friday and Saturday – both days and nights – and potentially on Sunday. The cost for this surge is approximately $25,000. 
  • Use both the Bay County Sheriff’s Department and the Panama City Beach Police Department Command Post on the eastern end of the City this weekend.

  • Receive helicopter surveillance support from the Bay County Sheriff’s Department to monitor large group activity and location.

  • Deploy temporary light towers at the vicinity of Walmart and Circle K at the eastern end of the City.

  • Require Circle K and Walmart to retain private security to prevent large group gatherings on their private property, similar to what the Shoppes at Edgewater and Pier Park do.

    Coordinate a partnership between the City, Police Department, condos, hotels, motels and restaurants and private businesses to mitigate large group and individual disturbances in the City, in particular on the eastern side.

  • Develop additional prevention and intervention strategies, as well as suppression strategies, to mitigate large group and individual disturbances. Similar large group disturbance over Memorial Day weekend: Daytona Beach (241 police officers), which had 6 shooting victims and Myrtle Beach (300 police officers), which experienced a shooting fatality with police present, and 4 shooting victims, demonstrates that police presence alone is not sufficient to prevent large group disturbances and violence.

"By utilizing additional law enforcement resources and partnering with private business, we expect a much quieter and safer season going forward," said Police Chief Drew Whitman. "We will stay on top of any crowds and ask that the public help us by reporting these situations so that everyone can have a safe and enjoyable time in Panama City Beach."

 Public Information Officer Debbie Ward can be reached at




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