For the roughly 75,000 drunken, half-naked spring breakers about converge on the beaches of South Padre Island, Tex., privacy probably isn’t a big concern. And considering local police plan on utilizing drones to monitor this year’s festivities, that’s probably a good thing.
According to the Washington Post, police from the town of around 3,000 residents will utilize two Yuneec Typhoon Q500s equipped with high resolution cameras. The drones are capable of remaining airborne for around 25 minutes, and are believed to be the first UAVs deployed by law enforcement to monitor crowds at a major spring break destination. Although as the following video shows, private drones have been used to film spring break hijinx for years:
“It gives us a bird’s-eye view that we wouldn’t have before,” South Padre Island town spokesman Gary Ainsworth told The Post. “If you have an incident in a large crowd and you’re sending two officers into the middle of it, they’re vastly outnumbered, and that’s before they have any idea of what’s going on.”
Ainsworth also told The Post that the use of drones will give authorities an edge normally reserved for police in larger cities that can afford to use helicopters.
“In the event a drunk college student decides he wants to run, we could use a drone to follow him instead of sending an officer to climb on the roof,” Ainsworth said. “If you have a fire, you can spend a few minutes getting an aerial shot. It’s all the same principle.”
You could also spend a few minutes filming your own personal “Girls Gone Wild” video. Same principle.
But as Ainsworth points out, there are some inherent risks with deploying drones above a crowd of spring breakers.
“How high can someone realistically chuck a can of beer?” he asked, before telling The Post the drones would venture no lower than 250 feet. “I probably would have tried to knock one out of the sky with a beer can when I was in college.”
(Source: The Washington Post)