Are there enough police to help with Black Beach Weekend?
Black Beach Weekend is just around the corner and last year’s high turnout was record breaking. With vacancies at the Biloxi Police Department, is law enforcement equipped to handle the crowds?
Spring break is in the air and out of state visitors have already made their way to Biloxi Beach. Arkansas resident Roxanne Cheatham said, “This is actually our first spring break down this way, but we have been in the area several times and I have a little one here that just loves the beach.”
Soon, the beach will be packed with thousands of spring breakers for the annual Black Beach Weekend, April 12th to the 15th. Last year, the event drew an estimated 60,000, the highest number of attendees yet. Memphis resident Charlisia Crawford said, “It’s just fun. You know everyone gathered at the beach or the different restaurants. It’s a great place to vacation.”
An even larger turnout is expected for Black Beach Weekend this year and with vacancies at the police department, crowd control concerns are on the rise. Memphis resident Terry Crawford said, “If you don’t see a lot of police around, you tend to let your hair down a little too much so just having major police presence definitely helps out a lot.”
To help the spring break weekend run smoothly, the Biloxi Police Department is hiring an additional 80 officers to patrol the event. Christopher De Back with Biloxi PD said, “Police presence is the first thing to eliminate any kind of issue so by having extra additional officers out there it’s going to help us keep it safe.”
With crowds doubling in size from last year, law enforcement’s number one concern is traffic. “We are going to be out there. We are going to be insuring the safety of everybody, the participants, the attendees, the residents of the city.”
Police say more than half of those 80 additional positions have already been filled, but there are a few spots left. If you’re a certified police officer interested in helping call the Biloxi Police Department.