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surveillance state

This Texas town will monitor spring breakers with drones

The 75,000 spring breakers who flood South Padre Island, Texas, this month can expect local police to monitor their partying with a new tool: surveillance drones.

The tiny town, which ranked No. 5 on Coed Magazine's list of "trashiest spring break destinations" for 2016, is prized for its local allowance of all non-glass alcohol containers on the beach. The resultant partying is the police department's rationale for acquiring drones to keep an eye on spring breakers. However, the police intend to continue using the drones for other surveillance of the 3,000 local residents after spring break is over.

For the drones' immediate use, of crucial importance was the question of flying height: Specifically, how high does a drone need to be to avoid assault by beer? "That's just something you have to expect when you have that many people letting loose on a beach and they notice a robot hovering over them," said South Padre Island spokesman Gary Ainsworth. "I probably would have tried to knock one out of the sky with a beer can when I was in college."