NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Alcohol Enforcement Team is in their third straight season with the North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety. Its goal, preventing spring breakers from hurting themselves, or others, by educating them before it's too late.
The last thing officers in North Myrtle Beach want to see, is a kid come to the beach for spring break only to leave seriously injured, or worse, dead.
"A bad situation where you have someone who was healthy and normal, they left college, they come to the beach, and they end up going back in a wheel chair," explained Lt. Johnson.
Johnson supervises the team and explains alcohol makes people believe they're invincible. Local property owners agree because they've seen it first-hand.
"I came in here in the morning, during spring break, and found a 19-year-old girl sleeping between two of the cars, on the concrete," Robert Abercrombie said.
Abercrombie owns a property on North Ocean Boulevard and said he found the girl before her body temperature dropped to a dangerously low level.
Police say these are the kinds of situations they are trying to prevent through educating these groups.
"We try to take the approach of being more positive and less along the lines of actually going in and doing mass arrests," Johnson explained.
"At that age, you're better off to keep them in the mind set that we are watching you rather than to try and force them to do something," Abercrombie said.
Abercrombie said he has seen a lot of spring breakers and how police have tried to control them in the past.
"...and once again you're in that position of all that time wasted, one police officer is tied up for half a day, dealing with a nut head," he said.
Abercrombie said he also has a proactive approach.
"I went to college, I came down here and did the same damage these kids are doing, I won't rent to school groups, absolutely not, they're just not old enough to realize. They don't own any property; therefore, they will damage property and not realize what they've done," Abercrombie explained.
Police say they've found parents are renting homes for their children and rental companies and owners aren't aware of who's really staying in their homes, which is another reason police will be out this season monitoring these groups.
Johnson says as long as alcohol is around, the alcohol enforcement team will be too.