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Longboat Key Police beef up patrols at Beer Can Island and surrounding areas

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LONGBOAT KEY, FL (WWSB) - Beer Can Island has become a very popular place, especially during spring break.  Because of that and it's isolation Longboat Key Police have beefed up their patrol here.

"Just to have a presence, to help people enjoy themselves, have a good time and behave," said Chief Pete Cumming with the Longboat Key Police Department.

That's the goal for Cumming and his team for Beer Can Island and other surrounding popular spots.  A steady increase in visitors on the island has lead to many more officers keeping an eye on things.

"I've got two boats on the water on the weekends and I've increased my beach patrol, foot patrol and ATV patrol by 3," said Cumming.  "I have my regular compliment of officers that are on patrol around as well, so we probably have ten additional officers."

Some parts such as Beer Can Island are no longer a secret and Chief Cumming says they are expecting more spring breakers than ever before. Despite Monday's high winds and very choppy surf, a few die hards came out. Part of the charm for many is the seclusion folks feel as they take the long path through mangroves to get to Beer Can Island.  That's why Gary Masouredis keeps coming back to this spot.  He tells us that he's happy police are taking this proactive approach.

"I've seen the police down here, they're good, they're nice and casual," said Masouredis.

Although most folks we talked with are for a greater police presence on Beer Can Island, there are some who are against it.

"I don't think we need more police officers to tell you the truth," said Booknes, a frequent visitor to Beer Can Island.  "It's always quiet here, nothing ever happens, nothing illegal, it's nice here."

For those beachgoers who may get out of control they risk receiving a citation or in some cases even getting arrested.

"There's no alcohol consumption permitted on the beaches, no alcohol at all, no dogs, no open fires," said Cumming.  "Just pretty much the same kind of ordinances and rules that you see on most public beaches."