Law enforcement in a Florida county is warning of possible child neglect charges for parents who allow their kids to swim in double red flag water conditions.
Officials with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office are considering harsher actions against parents in the wake of eight adult drownings in the county since June 1. The sheriff’s office handled two of the cases, and the Panama City Beach Police Department handled the other six.
“To me, it’s no different than having a fire inside of a house and allowing a kid to go over there who doesn’t know any danger to that fire,” Capt. Jason Daffin said, according to local outlet WJHG.
Authorities in the area are looking into all possible resources and actions that can be taken to curb the trend of civilians entering the water during high-risk hazard levels.
“Our problem that I found is just the lack of compliance. The blatant disregard to heed the lifeguard’s warning,” Panama City Beach Safety Director Daryl Paul said last month, according to local outlet MyPanhandle.
A Florida sheriff expressed his frustrations with beachgoers ignoring warning signs about dangerous waters days before former NFL quarterback Ryan Mallett died in an apparent drowning near the city of Destin last month.
Beach chairs are lined up on the shore in Destin, Fla. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
“I have watched while deputies, firefighters and lifeguards have risked their lives to save strangers. I have seen strangers die trying to save their children and loved ones, including two fathers on (Father’s Day).”
Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to note that the drownings in Bay County were not children.