Sarasota Sheriff’s Office steps up patrols as spring breakers soak up the sun

The sun and sugar sand beach of Siesta Key is a draw for thousands each year. 

"We love it here," said Carl Clough. 

His wife Lisa agreed, "I feel safe. I’m outside."

Among those at the beach on Friday was Steve Rozzel. He and his family make the yearly trip from Mooresville, Indiana. 

"Any time you can come to the beach it’s worth every penny. It’s a long drive for us, so it’s worth it," said Rozzel. 

An influx of traffic is a sure sign of spring break. Sergeant Arik Smith with the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office said they're ready. 

"We are expecting the same amount of crowds that we do out here, which is quite a few," he said. 

Sarasota deputies are ramping up patrols. You'll find them on ATVs and even on horseback. Sgt. Smith said safety starts with yourself. 

"One of the biggest things you can do is just have a plan. A plan for the extra people, extra traffic. Put that in your timetable. Try not to rush, bring everything you need. Lock up your valuables," he said. 

As the beach fills up, so does the parking lot. It often reaches max capacity. 

Illegal parking can be easily spotted by the mounted patrol. Even though they're riding on horseback, they still have tickets at hand. 

"When you get in the parking lot be patient it will take a while. Sometimes this parking lot fills up at 10:30 a.m. and another spot won’t open up for a long time. Be patient," said Smith. 

Alcohol is allowed on the beach for people 21 and up, but no glass containers. Smith said packing patience can be key to having a perfect day under the sun. 

"We've got a beautiful beach and we want everyone to enjoy it the same and be safe doing it," said Smith. 


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