In South Padre Island, Texas, a hotbed for rowdy spring breakers, police officers seek to bulk up their enforcement roster to keep them under control.
However, backup isn’t coming in the form of more able-bodied cops to increase vigilance on spring breakers. Instead, they will be deploying drones.
The Texas law enforcement department has bought two drones prior to this year’s influx of spring breakers.
The Washington Post reports that the drones will hover over South Padre spring breakers at about 250 feet. Officials believe the height is close enough for an optimal view of the South Padre spring breakers yet far away enough to not be hit by a can of beer, according to South Padre Island town’s spokesman Gary Ainsworth.
“That’s just something you have to expect when you have that many people letting loose on a beach and they notice a robot hovering over them. I probably would have tried to knock one out of the sky with a beer can when I was in college.”
The drones are expected to have their digital eyes on as many as 75,000 college kids on spring break this year in South Padre.
“Save that Money” rapper Lil Dicky is also reported to be making an appearance at the South Padre Spring Break Bash.
Planning for spring break in South Padre Island always begins months in advance, the WP writes. City officials are an even larger influx of spring breakers this year in South Padre.
Ainsworth explained that the reason for this phenomena is the warm temperatures and a move by the Panama City Beach City Council in Florida to ban alcohol consumption on its beaches around the spring break season.
The Inquisitr already covered Panama’s agreement to ban alcohol last year, when city council members voted for what was essentially a ban on drinking at the beach, particularly during spring break.
That leaves only a few places for spring breakers to enjoy alcohol in the United States, South Padre island, being one of them.
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The only downside is constantly being watched by the drone in the sky in South Padre.
And the drones used by the South Padre Police Department are no pushovers. Yuneec Typhoon Q500 is equipped with high-resolution cameras and batteries that provide up to 25 minutes of flight time.
“It gives us a bird’s-eye view that we wouldn’t have before,” he told the Post. “If you have an incident in a large crowd and you’re sending two officers into the middle of it, they’re vastly outnumbered, and that’s before they have any idea of what’s going on.”
To give you a better idea of how clear the drone’s view of the spring break debauchery will be, here’s a perspective view from the Yuneec website.
Besides monitoring the crowd, the drones can also be used in pursuit of college students attempting to flee the police by getting lost in the massive crowd in South Padre.
“In the event a drunk college student decides he wants to run, we could use a drone to follow him instead of sending an officer to climb on the roof,” Ainsworth said.
South Padre Police also plan to use the drones to help spring breakers who appear to be at risk of drowning.
“You can hook up a life jacket to a drone and drop it to somebody who is in the water. We’re working on that.”
Last March, police reported that 270 spring breakers were arrested for public intoxication as a result of the month-long celebration elevated by alcohol.
An exponentially stark figure in juxtaposition to the yearly total number of public intoxication arrests maxing out at just 294 in 11 months.
With that amount of people, perhaps having drones on duty is a necessity in South Padre Texas. Do you think the drones are a gross invasion of civilian privacy?
[Image via auremar/Shutterstock]