Long before students started making their plans for spring break, the Port Aransas Police Department was making its own.
With just 20 officers on its force, the popular spring break destination will get help from other agencies including the Corpus Christi Police Department, Department of Public Safety, the Parks and Wildlife Department and others, according to Port Aransas Police Chief Scott Burroughs.
With 20 percent of all arrests taking place during spring break in past years, Burroughs said, the department will be implementing a new tactic this year to keep people safe.
“This year we will actually have units patrolling the traffic scene,” Burroughs said. “This is the first year we will do this and we believe it will work in our benefit.”
Controlling traffic to and from the beach is a better way to crack down on not just drinking and driving, Burroughs said, but also the town’s curfew.
The curfew prohibits the consumption of alcohol at the beach from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday and noon Sunday.
“This is the third year we will implement this plan. We won’t go hunting for curfew (violators) but will be strictly enforcing all DWI laws,” Burroughs said.
Del Mar student Jose Cedillo, who works at Whataburger in Port Aransas, said people usually abide by the curfew.
“You can always tell when the curfew is coming around. We start to get busier because people are coming back from the beach. I think most people just leave because there isn’t much to do after that curfew hits,” Cedillo said.
Still, others choose to stay and camp overnight.
“I go to the beach every year,” said Del Mar student Alexis Alaniz. “Some people I see follow the curfew. Others just pour their beer in a cup and try not to get caught … doesn’t always work in their favor.”
Burroughs stressed not only the importance of following the curfew, but also camping procedures. All permits must be up to date, and campers can’t stay longer than three days in a three-week span. Fires are limited to 3 feet by 3 feet and must be extinguished before leaving.
Burroughs also urged everyone to be safe and follow the rules, but to have fun.