Towns, law enforcement prepare for spring breakers
COVINGTON COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - The calendar is driving the change in seasons and for Covington County Sheriff Dennis Meeks, that means one thing in these parts, the arrival of spring break for thousands of high school and college students.
People from states like Tennessee, Kentucky and, of course, Alabama use Highway 55 South as their main route to the beach. More than 90 percent head to Destin by way of Covington County and Andalusia.
"You come through and you're speeding, you will get stopped," said Meeks.
Welcoming those travelers will be folks like the sheriff, setting up 'check-points' along 55 and every year it never fails. The number of arrests increases as a result of alcohol and drugs.
"98 percent of the time they will be underaged," said Meeks.
The sheriff is not alone.
"This time of year will see the increase in traffic," said Greenville Police Chief Justin Lovvorn.
Lovvorn said his team will patrol about a five-mile stretch of Interstate 65 during the season.
"We'll spend some time out there dealing with those issues and try to make it safe as possible," said Lovvorn.
There is also another story to be told about spring breakers. They don't mind spending money and that's good for places like Greenville, which typically sees about a $150,000 bump in sales tax revenue.
"I see spring break as great, okay. When I think of spring break, I think of tax dollars," said Greenville Mayor Dexter McClendon.
For the next six weeks, Interstate 65 and Highway 55 will be busier than usual, good for retailers and hopefully not so busy for the men and women in blue.
Meeks says law enforcement generally receives a block of money from the state to help with overtime to help pay for those 'check points' and extra patrols.
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