Panama City Beach, Florida is a wonderful, mostly family-friendly vacation destination. Of course, everybody likes a good party. During spring break, it’s also the destination for a lot of college students to party and have fun on the beautiful sugar-white sand beaches there, soaking up the sun and sights.
And with them sometimes come those who could charitably be described as undesirables eager to crash the party, chase girls and sell street pharmaceuticals…not necessarily in that order. In fact, on social media, the bad actors touted their plans to “take over” Panama City Beach this past weekend.
Sure enough, a “flash mob” of a couple thousand from Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama along with some from Atlanta descended upon Panama City Beach as part of what was billed the “PCB Takeover.” These folks raised hell, tearing up property, threatening locals and tourists, and attacking the police when they weren’t shooting up the place.
The locals don’t take kindly to their hometown beaches and tourist areas being “taken over” by invaders acting like thugs. So when the “Takeover” types started arriving and causing problems — including destroying property and shooting at people — the police responded en masse.
Drug and apprehension dogs proved one of the best force multipliers for the police. With the dogs, the cops broke up some of the rowdier groups and parties. While doing so, not only did law enforcement find drugs and make arrests, but they also found the Takeover types brought enough firepower to “supply a small army” according the the local constabulary.
The invaders apparently missed the memo about drinking while toting guns. In fact, they probably missed the memo about Florida’s easy-to-access concealed weapons licenses, too.
The Bay County, Florida Sheriff’s Office released a statement on the recent enforcement actions that led to 160 arrests and confiscation of about 75 guns.
From Facebook . . .
The Bay County Sheriff’s Office responded to numerous incidents on Panama City Beach this past weekend during what some social media groups were calling “PCB Takeover”. The BCSO, Panama City Beach Police Department, Panama City Police Department, the Florida Highway Patrol, and FWC maintained a strong presence on the beach area during the weekend in response to the group’s planned events like house parties, spontaneous parties in parking lots, and concerts.
During the weekend, 161 individuals were booked into the Bay County Jail by all law enforcement agencies. Of the 161 individuals booked into the Jail Facility, 78 were from Alabama. Over the weekend, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office responded to 859 calls for service, 548 of those calls were from the beach zones.
The BCSO arrested 77 adults and 5 juveniles, a total of 82 arrests. A majority of these arrests were for illegal firearms charges. 75 firearms were seized by law enforcement.
Sheriff Tommy Ford credits the successful handling of the “PCB Takeover” crowds using technology and intelligence to target trouble spots and spontaneous crowds. The establishment of the Bay Real Time Operations Center (BayROC), a joint venture between all law enforcement agencies in Bay County, was, as Sheriff Ford says, “a game changer.”
For example, based on specific intelligence, law enforcement raided a house party with some of the main promoters in attendance. At this party, individuals with firearms were arrested and the attendees evicted by the homeowner. BayROC also communicated with law enforcement agencies in the hometowns of some “PCB Takeover” attendees and were able to specifically target and disrupt activities.
“We will not tolerate this criminal activity. These are behaviors that we as a community have fought before, won, and moved on to become a premier family destination,” Sheriff Ford stated. “To anyone coming to Panama City Beach to commit criminal acts with an intent to “Takeover” our beach, we will continue the good fight, and dedicate whatever resources necessary to keep Bay County safe. We are united with the support of our elected officials and our community for the resources we need. I assure you; it will not be a “REAL FUN BEACH” inside the Bay County Jail. If you come here to act like a criminal, we will treat you like one.”
Those arrested and charged this past weekend were:
Keaton Lavell Arnold Patrick Bass
Ja Quez Lewis Bandy Keith Glenn Body
Zykese Boyd Colby Burroughs
Michaela Carter Xzander Duncan
Garenton Flowers Debarius Ford
Rory Gaddy Braveon Lamar George
Dante Harris Lamar Gholson Jeremiah Golden
Terry Harris Tyler Woodard
Lorenzo Hart Ross Holloway
Elizabeth Hughes Adrian Jackson
Tracy Madden Chandler Phillip McMath
Edaniel Means Jywarrick Miller
Tyan Person Chantell Prince
Danyell Reese Omarius Richardson
Lamarcus Ricks Caleb Sanford
Tywann Sistrunk Alan Smith
Javis Smith William Landon Story
Christopher Lee Thibault Jamoses Thomas
Ja’Quavious Thornton Jordan Keshoun Tyson
Bra Yaun Jasiyah Vickers Kambreya Walker
Raphael Walker Jeremiah Wells
Feel free to browse the mugshots of many who were arrested.
From the Daily Mail . . .
Police in Panama City Beach, a popular party destination for college students, confiscated 75 illegal guns – enough to supply a ‘small army’ – and arrested more than 160 ‘pathetic cowards’ over the weekend, officials announced during a press conference Monday.
In a new video, police officers could also be seen unleashing drug hounds on the town’s beach on the same day as the gun bust, prompting dozens of revelers to run and disperse themselves along the white sands.
‘These guns were taken over a period of two days,’ Beach Police Chief J.R. Talamantez said, the Panama City News Herald reported. ‘It could arm a small army. Semiautomatic weapons, long rifles – these are weapons brought to a resort destination. These are weapons brought to a beach.’
It must be a really small, third-rate, tiny “army” that could be equipped with the few dozen (mostly) handguns that were seized.
At the same time, in my personal experience vacationing on those same beaches last summer, the police there aren’t heavy-handed at all. They tolerate public drinking so long as you’re not bringing bottles to the beach or acting like a complete fool. And heaven knows they aren’t frisking folks looking for GATs. I’d know.
I was legally armed for my evening beach walks, usually with both my full-sized primary and a backup piece. It’s what I carry every day. Concealed carry is welcome in Florida for personal defense.
The same applied for my trips, both in the SUV and on foot to the nearby shops and restaurants with the family. And while I didn’t bring my AR- with me into the condo, it remained securely stowed in the vehicle.
While there and well-strapped, I said ‘hi’ to a couple of the local PCB cops and asked how they liked living and working there. “It’s terrible,” one said with a grin. “You wouldn’t want to live here.” He then clarified that it’s crowded enough without more people moving there. I told him I came from Illinois and he expressed his condolences. Seems he and his family were some of the many who fled Illinois’ FOID cards, gun laws, and high taxes in recent years.
Those cops and others treated me and the family very well. Then again, if you dress and act like a decent human being, cops usually have better things to do than to give you a hard time.
When it comes to good guys and guns, the Bay County Sheriff has no animus towards everyday people who own firearms. Far from it. In fact, they offer firearms safety and tactics classes to the public.
The BCSO is offering a Firearms Safety and Tactics Program. The certificate can be used to get a Concealed Weapons Permit.
There will be two classes: 4/4 and 4/23. The class will be from 10am to 5pm.
To register, call Peggy MacDonald at the BCSO at 248-2170. pic.twitter.com/bMN46Iua9S
— Bay County Sheriff (@BayCountySO) March 4, 2020
So yes, Panama City Beach remains a good vacation destination, one where you can bring your family for a safe getaway. You can also bring your gun and not worry about getting accosted by LEOs.
At the same time, if you act like a fool when drinking, slap around your significant other or think that smoking weed or selling it on the beach is somehow okay there, you may leave with a lighter wallet or even get to spend a few extra days in the Sunshine State courtesy of the Bay County Sheriff’s Department.