Walton County Sheriff’s office gearing up for spring break season

Authorities say they need your help in keeping the peace, so if you see something that concerns you, no matter how small, call the sheriff's office right away.
Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 8:20 PM CST
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WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - As the weather gets warmer and March rolls around, more travelers are expected to come into the area for spring break.

With more people coming into town, Walton County Sheriff’s officials are working to ensure they are ready to keep everyone in the area safe.

“It’s that time of year again. Spring break is upon us,” WCSO Captain Dustin Cosson said. “We are increasing our response, like we do every year, to ensure we have the appropriate staff to address any kind of issues that come from that increase of people coming to the area.”

Many south Walton County residents said they are pleased to know law enforcement is working to keep things under control as more teenagers on spring break come to the area.

“I think it’s a very good thing they’re putting in place,” Addison Archer, a local resident, said. “The more cops, the better during that time just to get a hold on things so things don’t get out of hand. It was very big last year, and, you know, obviously the break-ins and stuff like that.”

With every passing year, as more teenagers come into town, deputies say safety is always a top priority.

“A lot of times, the teenagers- they kind of venture out. And so those are the age groups that we’re focusing on. Underage drinking, criminal mischief, breech of peace, house parties, things of that nature. That’s what we’ll be focusing on,” Cosson said.

In an effort to tamper down possible “open house” parties, which have reportedly become increasingly more common, WCSO officials said they are dedicating more resources to stop any illegal or disruptive activity.

“One thing we’ve done the last couple years, we have a dedicated squad,” Cosson said. “Four or five deputies that go out, their sole function is to find potential house parties and address them appropriately.”

Walton County law enforcement are on high alert this year, after more than 200 teenagers broke into an $8 million mansion in Watercolor of June 2022. Deputies said that incident is still under investigation, and they are working to ensure similar incidents do not occur again.

“We have those deputies go out every single night and proactively enforce anything that may lead to an open house party because we know they can get out of control quickly, and so it’s ultimately our responsibility to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Cosson said.

Authorities said while they are dedicating more resources to stop crime before it begins, they need the public’s help to do so. They said if residents are concerned about something, no matter how small it may seem, to call the Walton County Sheriff’s Office immediately so they can investigate.