Since 1995, the Alachua County Sheriff's Office has assisted the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office during Alachua County's week of Spring Break. Alachua County Deputies perform law enforcement functions with special attention to occurrences that involve open parties, vandalism, fights, and an unrestrained use of alcohol and drugs by many underage students during Spring Break. Once again, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office will be assisting with enforcement efforts during the Spring Break. For more information regarding Operation Spring Break call (352) 367-4122.
A Parent's Guide to Spring Break:
Traditionally, Spring Break is a time for families to unwind with spring cleaning or short vacations to one of our state’s many attractions. For many high school students, this could be their first "Spring Break" experience. The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office would like to offer a guide for parents and students attending this year’s Spring Break.
What parents should know about Spring Break at the beach:
The beaches of St. Johns County include St. Augustine, St. Augustine Beach, Crescent Beach, Vilano Beach, Fort Matanzas, and the Intracoastal Waterways. With more than 8,000 high school students in Alachua County, it is estimated that many of these students spend a portion of their Spring Break on the beaches of St. Johns County. The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and the St. Augustine Beach Police Department work toward providing a safe atmosphere for the students. Families need to understand that Alachua County is not the only school district having spring break on our neighboring beaches. Schools from across the United States are having spring break from now until mid-May. With so many students you can imagine the need for additional resources.
Why is the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office working on the beaches of St. Johns County?
In 1995, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office recognized that there was an increased occurrence of open parties, vandalism, fights, and an unrestrained use of alcohol and drugs by many underage students during Spring Break. As a result of this foresight, the School Resource Deputies began assisting the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office each year during Alachua County’s week of Spring Break.
Our deputies will work in cooperation with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office to handle patrol duties like they would in Alachua County. School Resource Deputies will conduct high visibility patrol, in progress crime detection, and the enforcement of traffic, drug, and alcohol violations on the beaches, condominiums, and hotels. The goal for this event is to identify potential problem areas, (i.e., "keg parties," disturbances, etc.) and take the necessary steps to limit injuries and property damage. These deputies will serve as a liaison between Alachua County students, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, and local condominium and hotel managers, to ensure the students safely enjoy the beaches.
Tips for Parents:
Parents should make sure they have the name, phone, and room number of the condominium or hotel where their child will be staying. If your child is staying with friends, confirm with the other parents that a responsible adult will chaperone the kids. Feel free to stop in unannounced for the day and have lunch with your kids; this will certainly keep them on their toes.
The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office and the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office have a Zero Tolerance for the use of alcohol by underage persons. Laws pertaining to the use of alcohol by underage drinkers will be strictly enforced on Spring Break. Persons under the age of 21, yes that includes juveniles, will be subject to arrest for possession of alcohol. If your child is arrested or detained for investigative purposes, you will be contacted. In most cases, parents have driven to St. Augustine and have taken their children home.
The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office does not condone underage drinking, and is not ignorant to the fact that it takes place. Parents need to inform their teenagers about the dangers of drinking and driving. Teenagers should not leave any beverages unattended or accept any drinks from people they do not trust. Teenagers should not ride with someone who has been drinking. If they cannot find a designated driver, they should contact another friend, a taxi, or a Deputy Sheriff.
If an emergency exists, concerned parents can contact a deputy working during Spring Break. The deputy will do everything in his/her power to assist the parent. In extreme cases, the parent should be prepared to meet the deputy at the beach to resolve any problems.