161 Arrested, 75 Guns Confiscated in Fla. Following Reported Beach 'Takeover' on Spring Break

Panama City Beach police chief J.R. Talamantez said "there are no words that can describe" visitors' actions over the weekend

Panama City Beach police
Photo: Panama City Police Department/Facebook

Over 160 people were booked into a Panama City Beach, Florida jail over the weekend as local authorities cracked down on spring break festivities that got out of hand.

The Bay County Sheriff's Office (BCSO) helped break up several incidents on Panama City Beach amid what some social media groups had deemed the "PCB Takeover," according to a news release issued Monday by the department.

The BCSO responded to just under 860 calls for service over the busy weekend, 548 of which were from "beach zones," with assistance from the Panama City Police Department, Springfield Police Department, the Florida Highway Patrol and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Of this weekend's 161 arrestees in Bay County, 78 were from Alabama, per the BCSO. In total, 82 individuals — 77 adults and five juveniles — were taken into custody by the BCSO alone, the majority of which were booked on illegal firearms charges. Seventy-five firearms were seized.

Commenting on the commotion, Panama City Beach police chief J.R. Talamantez said Sunday that "there are no words that can describe the way they have behaved themselves, conducted themselves and the amount of laws they have broken," per CBS News.

"We are doing the best to manage this situation," he added.

Panama City Beach, Florida

BCSO Sheriff Tommy Ford stressed that officials "will not tolerate this criminal activity" in the area in the news release published Monday, alongside images of the confiscated firearms from a press conference held earlier in the day.

"Each one of these 75 illegal firearms represents a violent armed encounter with law enforcement," Ford said at the briefing. "This weekend could have very well resulted in tragedy of a law enforcement loss of life, a citizen's loss of life and even a bad guy's loss of life."

In Monday's news release, Ford said, "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."

Ford credited the officers' crowd control success to the regions' Bay Real Time Operations Center (BayROC), which Ford called "a game changer" in their efforts to maintain order. The technology is used to "target trouble spots and spontaneous crowds" according to the PCPD's news release.

Panama City Beach, Florida

The BayROC system helped officials raid a local house party attended by some of the Takeover's main promoters, per the BSCO. Multiple people were arrested while in possession of firearms while the rest were "evicted by the homeowner."

BayROC also informed law enforcement agencies about specific Takeover attendees, allowing law enforcement "to specifically target and disrupt activities."

Panama City police chief Mark Smith offered similar sentiments in his department's own news release, calling the weekend " a difficult and trying one for our team" in uniform.

"To those individuals that think they can come to our city and break the law, we will be waiting for you with the promise to be professional and intolerant, and you will be held accountable for your actions," he said.

Talamantez said Sunday that "nothing is off the table" regarding a possible curfew, per CBS.

"I know the citizens are frustrated. Trust me, we are frustrated too," Talamantez explained. "The harsh reality is we cannot control who comes to town. But what we can control is what happens to you if you commit a crime in this town. We will hold you accountable."

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