Waves of college students have left the beaches for another year. Record crowds and also a record number of arrests. Almost 1300 between the two coastal communities.
“Definitely higher than before,” says Sgt. Jason Woodruff with Gulf Shores Police. “We’ve had some big weeks but this was a big month.”
620 arrests were made in Gulf Shores, 679 in Orange Beach. “Every year after spring break there’s that little bit of whew it’s over and we’ve gotten through another year,” says Lt. Steve Brown with Orange Beach Police.
College students like Kane Rice were in for a rude awakening if they thought they wouldn’t have to obey the rules at the beach. “I got caught, got in trouble, went to jail. I paid like 700 dollars to get out! Just crazy.”
Police cracked down on underage drinking and it was reflected in the majority of the arrests for minors in possession of alcohol, public intoxication and possession of marijuana.
Maximum fines for just those three offenses totalled $534,300, more than half a million dollars and that doesn’t include court costs. “In large part I think we were successful in enforcing those underage drinking laws,” says Brown.
The debate whether to ban alcohol or not ban alcohol on the beach is no longer in question. One city didn’t. The other one did and they’re glad. “Purely from the Gulf Shores Police Department, yeah, good idea and hope it stays,” says Woodruff.
The beaches are much quieter now. Spring break season is almost over and the busiest part of the year is just a few weeks away.