DeSantis ramping up spring break police presence: ‘We don’t welcome mayhem’

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced the state will be increasing its police presence at Miami Beach and other popular spring break destinations in an attempt to limit “mayhem.”

DeSantis announced the law enforcement change at a press conference Tuesday. He said he had begun working with Miami Beach Mayor Steven Meiner, but 17 other popular vacation destinations across the state requested troopers be deployed to help with tourists.

“Florida is a very welcoming state. We welcome people to come here and have a good time,” DeSantis said. “What we don’t welcome is criminal activity. What we don’t welcome is mayhem and people that want to wreak havoc on our communities.”

More than 60 state troopers will be deployed to South Florida and another 60 to other spots like Daytona Beach and Panama City Beach.

DeSantis said through the State Highway Patrol, he has activated aviation drones and mobile command vehicles to assist with traffic management. Troopers will also use mobile automated license plate readers throughout Miami to identify “subjects with outstanding warrants or those that are driving stolen vehicles.”

“If you’re coming here in order to enjoy Florida … to have a good time, fine,” he said. “If you’re coming for these other reasons, if you’re committing crimes, causing havoc, you are going to pay the price and we will hold you accountable because that’s what we do here.”

Traffic mitigation, crowd control, DUI checkpoints and street closures are also part of the new plan. DeSantis said residential neighborhoods in the surrounding communities will have increased security.

In Miami, the city will institute curfews, bag checks at beach access points and limited beach hours “to ensure law and order.” Uniformed officers will patrol beaches in vehicles, on ATV’s and bicycles and by foot. The Coast Guard will also patrol the surrounding waters.

DeSantis’ announcement came a year after several fatal shootings last March as an influx of out-of-city visitors flocked to Miami. An 11:59 p.m. through 6 a.m. curfew was enacted last year due to the “excessively large and unruly crowds.”

According to The Associated Press, local business owners are frustrated that visitors are not visiting the businesses and hope Miami does more to control loitering, while others think the restrictions are racially motivated.

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