Harrison County Beach Patrol Back To Full Time Work

Like the tourists, they haven't been seen in a while. But this year, the Harrison County Beach Patrol is back at work.

"The last two years there hasn't been a whole lot of activity on our sand beaches," says Captain Windy Swetman with the Harrison County Sheriff's Department. "This year with the vendors returning, of course the tourists are going to return, and so does our beach patrol in full effect."

Swetman heads up the Beach Patrol as part of the Harrison County Sheriff's Department's Community Relations Division.

"The main function out here is to just give a law enforcement presence. To make sure that tourists and citizens of Harrison County can come to our beaches and feel safe and enjoy the beaches."

And Swetman says safety around water is always a concern.

"We respond to jet ski accidents and those are common," says Swetman. "These officers are first responders, and they're able to be there and be there fast."

Deputy Steve Solmon has patrolled this 26 mile stretch for more than a dozen years.

"We watch for mainly sand beach violations," says Solmon. "Our biggest problem is glass and a few people complaining about the dogs."

Underage drinking is another common, but serious violation.

"We give them a ticket and hope that they learn from that and will not do it again," says Swetman.

But for the most part, the beach patrol is there to help everyone have a safe and good time on the beach.

"Beach Patrol does seem like it would be a plum position, but it gets hot out here," says Swetman. "And after a few days of baking in the sun, I think they look for the air conditioning of their patrol car."