JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – The Jax Beach Police Department has all hands on deck to handle the more than 200,000 people expected to hit the beaches to celebrate this Fourth of July.
It's no day off for Jacksonville Beach police officers; in fact, it's one of their busiest days of the year. Officer Allan Ford focused on First, Second, and Third streets where bikers and pedestrians spilled out onto the roadway, some crossing without waiting or looking for oncoming traffic.
"On a holiday like this, you’ll see that they do truly overtake the roadway completely. The P-D says they're prepared to close First Street if need be but won't do so unless they think it's unsafe," Ford said.
Officers are heavily focused on enforcing drinking laws but they're also looking out for other issues.
"You got beachgoers that are parking in end zones, you know, they're not thinking to lock their vehicles, so they end up becoming victims for vehicle burglaries and vehicle thefts," Ford said. "We'll just watch and look out for certain things that may be a risk."
A big part of the day for some officers is being proactive -- just walking around and talking with people.
While on patrol, Ford got called out to a drunken disturbance and a trespassing incident. "Alright man hey what's going on? "Ford asked one suspect. Both situations ended with warnings and the officers asking the people involved to be a little more careful.
"Hopefully, he understands the error of his ways and that his actions were inappropriate and to not do it again," Ford said. "More than 80 Jacksonville Beach officers are working on Independence Day, and just want people to have a safe and fun time. "They have the day off, you know, they want to spend the day off with their family and friends, and they’re just basically free-spirited, you know what I mean? So when you get them down here they’re so just pumped up and amped up and ready to have a good time that they don’t really think sometimes. That’s why we’re here to educate, we’re here to enforce, and we’re here to warn," Ford said.