CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. - As we roll into Independence Day weekend, the beaches are getting more and more crowded. While that may mean packing more patience for your visit to the sandy shores, it's going to mean a lot of overtime for Clearwater police.
They're staffing up this holiday weekend because of the anticipated crowds, but also in reaction to gunfire that erupted after a disagreement near the Hyatt Regency on Memorial Day. Pictures of the response to the shooting show a lot of cops and confusion. The hope is that the increased presence will stop a similar incident before it begins.
"I think that any kind of increased presence that we have out there can just help everybody," said Rob Shaw, a Clearwater Police Department spokesman.
Officers will be on the lookout for specific activities, including drinking, which isn't allowed on Clearwater Beach.
Police presence on the beach during this weekend should be roughly what you expect to see during Spring Break.
"That means extra officers on the sand, extra officers in cars, you know, trying to make sure that everybody's having a good time while there at the beach," Shaw said.
Which is good news for most folks like the Lindblad family from Atlanta
"It's the Fourth of July, and there's gonna be a lot of families out here," said Lauren Lindblad.
"Everybody wants their family to be safe," said Jacob, her brother.