You’re trying to go to spring break and blow off some academic steam by letting loose. I get it. However, maybe you are under the drinking age or like to indulge in illegal substances. Well you may want to do any of your illicit activities in the privacy of your shitty hotel room instead of the beach because the South Padre Island Police will be utilizing drones to snoop out unlawful deeds.
There will be as many as 75,000 college kids swarming the barrier-island town. South Padre Island town spokesman Gary Ainsworth is expecting larger crowds than usual this year because the Panama City Beach City Council has banned alcohol consumption on its beaches during spring break.
In a town that normally has fewer than 3,000 permanent residents, the police department doesn’t have the manpower to effectively monitor that many people so they are getting some eyes in the sky.
“It gives us a bird’s-eye view that we wouldn’t have before,” Ainsworth told The Washington 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.”
South Padre Island preferred the much more cost-effective public surveillance of a drone instead of a helicopter since the town is so much calmer the other 11 months of the year. Last spring break, South Padre police arrested 270 people for public intoxication, the combined number of arrests for the same charge for other 11 months was 294.
He also said that the drones could assist cops locate and follow any perps who run from the law. But the drones could also assist in non-spring break emergencies such as fires and people who are drowning in the ocean.
The city purchased two Yuneec Typhoon Q500 drones that feature integrated 3-axis precision gimbal camera, 4K/30fps ultra high-definition video, 1080p/120fps slow motion video and 12 megapixel photos. The drones have up to 25 minutes of flight time.
One of the other important aspects of this quadcopter was that it can fly 250 feet in the air, a safe enough height that it won’t be shot down by a beer can.
“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,” Ainsworth said. “I probably would have tried to knock one out of the sky with a beer can when I was in college.”