CopTalk: Teen Killer Alcohol

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Teen Killer Alcohol:

Most every cop I know has a pet peeve. Something that really bothers him or her more than all the regular stuff we deal with. Mine is dealing with ruthless Gang Bangers who have no respect for anyone or anything. Mark’s is targeting street level drug sales and activity. But those are other chapters in the book.

This chapter is going to focus on the pet peeve of a Sergeant I worked under for 6 years.

His focus aside from being a street supervisor was directed at Teen drinking parties and possession of alcohol by minors.

When I first started working for “Tim” I thought he was like “way to intense” about this teen-drinking thing. When the report came in about a teen drinking party taking place somewhere he would have every available swing shift and graveyard unit surround the house. He would sneak up on foot disguised in his famous green army jacket, armed with his hand held million-candle power spot lamp that could melt someone’s eyeballs out.

Tim would sneak up to the backyard fence of the house where the party was taking place and once he saw kids with alcohol, the spot lamp would turn the night into day. And then all hell would break loose. Kids dumping beer containers, running into the house, or jumping the fence into other yards to run from us.

Tim would orchestrate these “Teen drinking details” as if they were a SWAT call. Tim would have an entry team enter the house and round up all the kids. Cruising patrol cars would stop carloads of teens who had made it to their cars. 

The person hosting the party was segregated from the rest, and phone calls were made to try and locate the parents who were usually out of town. The kids on scene who were under 18 years of age were tested on a portable intoxilyzer if they displayed symptoms of having alcohol in their systems.

Numerous pairs of parents would be called for the wayward juveniles who were 15 and 16 years old at a house they weren’t supposed to be at with no supervision. Unruly intoxicated kids were transported to the station for more formal action and citations. The person hosting the party got a nice little $500.00 ticket and a bill for man-hours used by the PD to break up the party. 

8 Officers,

2 Hours Time,

at $25.00 an hour per Officer.

That adds up to a nice little check that Mom and Dad have to write to the City when they get back from Hawaii, or their business trip down south. All for a night of fun to host a “Keg” party.

A handful of the parents that show up to pick up their kids go through the roof. You can tell that their kids are respectful of their parents and that the kids knew they had royally blown it. These were the parents that you wanted to hug. These were the ones who had the respect and love of their kids. These were the kids that you would rarely see back here again.

A handful of the parents that show up take an immediate defense of their kids. They speak to us with disrespect demanding to know how we could have entered the house without a search warrant. They openly challenge us in front of their kids, threatening us with legal action and lawsuits. It hurts to see the smirks on the faces of the kids from these parents who refuse to acknowledge that their kids had done wrong. These are the kids who receive very little direction at home. These are the kids that we will see time and time again in the future. These are the parents who will receive a knock on the door at 2:00am regarding little junior being involved in a serious accident or involvement in a serious crime.

The majority of the parents that show up reveal little or no reaction. “We don’t know what to do Officer”. “What do you suggest?”  “We can’t do anything with him.”  “His grades are slipping and he rarely stays at home anymore.”  “He won’t listen to us anymore”.

The reason why I demonstrate these 3 different types of parental reactions is because of what I have stressed all throughout Coptalk. EVERY ACTION has a REACTION! Your parenting skills determine whether or not you’ll be raising a teenage alcoholic.

The bottom line is this.

Alcohol is killing our kids. Hundreds of kids lose their lives in alcohol related vehicle accidents weekly!

Alcohol is killing innocent motorist and families struck by drunken teens

Alcohol is killing our kid’s self-esteem

Alcohol is killing our future that we hold in our kids.

I dealt with a 15-year-old boy who made the drunk “Otis” on the Andy Griffith show look like a saint! This kid would be drunk at school on a regular basis until he finally got kicked out. He would pretend every morning that he was going to class to fool his parents. For a while it worked!

Then we’d end up responding to a call at the local sandwich shop, for the report of a

“intoxicated subject passed out in the restroom” around noontime.

Need to guess who?

This was on a daily basis. I got so frustrated with seeing nothing done criminally that I “changed my actions to get a different reaction.” I started calling an ambulance to place the kid under a “5150” psychiatric hold because “he was gravely disabled” and a danger to himself and others.

This kid would get wasted, say the wrong thing to a group of teens he didn’t know, and they would beat the crap out of him. Or we would get numerous reports of “a kid staggering down the street in and out of traffic”. Enough was enough!

At least by placing him under a psychiatric hold, the county hospital could hold the kid for up to 72 hours pending further evaluation. At least that was 72 hours I didn’t have to worry about him getting hit by a car, or by drinking himself into a coma from “alcohol poisoning.”

After 4 ambulance rides to county hospital (charged to Mom and Dad) his court date finally caught up to him. I don’t know what happened to him.

I never saw his name in the obituaries so I was at least glad about that.

What I wasn’t glad about, was not knowing the factors that could turn a 15-year-old kid with a full life ahead of him, into a drunken slob with an attitude.

In a recent “Story of the week” on our web site I did a story called “Where have all the parents gone”. I can only blame what is or isn’t going on at home, for the path in life this “child” has chosen to take.

You have to be in touch with your kids to know what is going on in their lives. You have to recognize character changes that are unusual and significant.

  • A drop in grades
  • Truancy
  • Tardiness
  • Caliber of friends change
  • Rebellious or defiant attitude
  • Changes in activities or behavior
  • Withdrawing from the family structure or family activities
  • Becomes withdrawn and moody

Negative behavior NEEDS to be dealt with.

Positive behavior NEEDS to be re-enforced.

You’re the parents, not us. Do something so that we don’t have to!

For the parents who don’t know what to do, you can call any school counselor or any police department juvenile officer for advice. There are hundreds of support programs that you can take advantage of to help you with dealing with this problem.

I get many parents who ask me, “How do they get the alcohol?”

These are the most common ways that teens score alcohol.

YOUR FRIDGE and LIQUOR CABINET:

Hate to tell you this but when the cat is away the mice will play. Teens will take liquor from parents liquor cabinets and hope that Mom and Dad won’t notice. The sophisticated teens that are really brave (or desperate) will pour what they want into another container and then “water down” the bottle they poured from. Is that bottle of vodka you have tasting a little weak? Many times you don’t even notice!

A NEIGHBORS CABINET:

How does this happen you ask? You go on vacation. You pay 16 year old Johnny next door to watch your house and feed your pets. Johnny brings a friend over one day who talks Johnny into scoring some booze. Johnny isn’t the real culprit here but due to peer pressure he let’s his friend steal from the bottles. It’s an easy score. Most adults don’t even notice and if it really isn’t obvious, they blame it on the age of the liquor. In time the kids get braver, make a mistake, and end up getting busted for it. This is really common with baby sitters. Again, it’s not the kid that is responsible and got the job of watching your infant or property. It’s usually the “friend” who has less morals and ethics that the baby sitter allows over!

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Realize that you’re hiring a “kid” who may not have the same work ethic as an adult.

Some kids with great upbringing want to do a great job and value the opportunity you give them.

Some kids with great upbringing try to do a great job but get influenced by friends with lesser value systems.

Some kids flat out don’t care about doing a good job and look at the work you give them, as a different kind of opportunity.

Take away the opportunity and you’ll change the outcome of what happens at your house while you’re away!

  • Know the kid you’re hiring as a baby sitter or house sitter.
  • Invite the kid over with his parents so that you can all meet together and discuss payment and expectations.
  • If needed, buy a lock for a liquor cabinet or remove it so it is not easily accessible.

Typical rules for baby sitters:

  • Make yourself at home.
  • Eat whatever food you want.
  • Watch TV
  • Play Video games.
  • Keep door locked at all times.

·         Don’t allow ANYONE inside

  • No visitors!
  • Use the phone within reason but no incoming calls except for PARENTS!

Parents:

  • Call in on a regular basis. You’d be surprised how many times you’ll find that things aren’t exactly how you left them at home. (Numerous voices in the background, loud music playing, a different voice answers the phone.)
  • Notify the neighbors on either side and across the street that you will be gone and that a young person is watching your home. Tell them that NO ONE is allowed at the house and that if they observe suspicious activity or people coming over to the house, to immediately page you or call you at a number you provide.
  • If they can’t reach you, tell them to call the police and explain the circumstances. An officer will be sent by to make contact with the person watching the house to make sure that everything is in order.

Parents,

ALWAYS LEAVE AN EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBER WITH A NEIGHBOR! Again we stress the importance of knowing your neighbors.

These types of rules prevent the thefts of alcohol and property from YOUR HOME!

If these issues are discussed beforehand, we will not be hearing the excuse “I didn’t know!” “Nobody told me.”

GARAGE REFRIGERATORS:

We explain to you in the chapter regarding thefts, the importance of keeping your garage door closed if unattended. It happens in the afternoon when school is out just as frequently as in the middle of the night.

Group of kids walking home from school with backpacks.

They pass a house with the garage door open.

No car inside.

No one in sight.

No one in the neighborhood paying attention to them.

(The excuse I heard from this homeowner was “I just went to the store for a minute.”

One kid acts as a lookout while two kids go into your garage, open the fridge, and put 4 six packs of Budweiser into their backpacks and off they go. It only takes 15 seconds. They might go sit and drink in a creek since Mom and Dad don’t get home from work until 3 hours from now or they’ll stash it someplace for a Friday night party.

When this happens to your garage in the middle of the night, you’ll more than likely wake up to find a couple mountain bikes missing in addition to your beer. How do you prevent this from happening?

  • Keep your garage locked.
  • Pad Lock your garage fridge.
  • Know what’s in it.
  • Get to know your neighbors who can keep an eye on your place when you’re not home.

If you think I’m getting off track here, I’m not! When we stop a car in the middle of the loaded with alcohol, guess where it came from!

SPOTTING:

 Spotting is the term used when juveniles who are under age, arrange for someone who is 21 years old, to buy alcohol for them. This usually takes place at a location with a lot of “in and out” traffic; like at a gas station/convenience store or at a grocery store.

Spotting takes place between two types of people.

Friends known to the kids

Strangers not known by the kids.

Remember Tim my Sergeant who went “bonkers” over kids with beer? Tim would sit in a Lucky’s parking lot on a Friday night in an unmarked car wearing his green army jacket.

He would see groups of kids waiting in a car nearby and one or two of the kids who would approach customers entering or leaving the store and after a short conversation there would be an exchange of cash. Just like a drug deal!

Tim would watch the “buyer” come out of the store and walk over to the kids car, or a short distance away. The alcohol would be given to the kids, and the buyer would be given anywhere from 10 to 20 bucks for their trouble.

Tim would have one of us make a stop on the kid’s car with the booze in it, while he made a stop on the person who bought the booze.

Both get very expensive tickets. The kid driving the car takes the chance of LOSING his or her license for a YEAR, not to mention an INCREDIBLE increase in insurance rates that more than likely the kid isn’t paying.

Mom and Dad, pay attention! You are responsible for your kid’s actions.

  • Your kid’s license could be suspended.
  • Your insurance rates could soar.
  • You’ll have to pay the fines for your offspring.
  • YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for alcohol related crashes your kids get into!

Spotting is something that I tried a few times way back in high school. Sometimes it worked, most the time it didn’t. It is much easier to do with older friends than with strangers. Back when I was a kid, there wasn’t an epidemic problem with alcohol like there is today. The fear of getting caught far outweighed the fun of drinking beer, and I soon became involved in racing motorcycles on the weekends instead of partying.

I have no sympathy for a stranger who will buy alcohol for minors. They usually host the defense, “There’re just doing kid stuff, what’s the problem?” I feel like dragging this moron by the hair and sticking his head into the smashed interior of a car that contains the lifeless bloody bodies of kids who drank and then drove and then asks the person if it’s just kid stuff?

You can spot “SPOTTING” activity just like my sergeant did. If a kid comes up to you and ask you to buy them alcohol, tell them you’re not interested and go into the store or to your car and cell phone and CALL US! An accurate description is a big help so please be alert.

Curbing this activity before it takes place saves lives. We show up, see the activity, contact the kids, and find out they are 15 and 16 years old.

A phone call to Mom and Dad usually is enough to wreck the night for the kids, and leaves the impression that “Spotting” is not worth it because “someone” is always watching. Someone being “Concerned citizens!”

Think it’s a petty problem?

  • Is it petty when we knock on your door at 2:00am and tell you that your kid is dead. The driver or passenger involved in a fatal alcohol related crash.
  • Is it petty when we knock on your door at 2:00am and tell you that a loved one was killed in an alcohol related crash? You tell us, “But my husband doesn’t drink.” 

     “The teenagers who hit him were drinking” we must add.

  • Is it petty when you are driving home with your family and 2 headlights appear out of nowhere and in an instant, turn your automobile into a fiery inferno of smashed steel? With your family still inside? The headlamps you’ll never know about contained drunken teenagers.

Stopping “spotting” saves lives. Do something about it as a concerned citizen. Do something about it as a parent if your kid gets caught. Don’t make the cops out to be the bad guy! We’re trying to help you keep your kids alive.

FALSE IDENTIFICATION:

I’ve seen great fakes.

I’ve seen crappy fakes.

Many store clerks are good about recognizing false ID’s.

Many store clerks aren’t, and just take a peek at the ID and sell the alcohol anyway.

These are the scams with false ID’s.

  • A high school kid can quickly learn from other kids, where they can score a fake ID. In towns with heavy college populations there are usually shops that make out of state replica drivers licenses for $10 to $20 bucks. Sometimes you even see them advertised in magazines.

When I was a kid it was common knowledge that you could go to Berkeley and a shop on University avenue would sell you a California ID card for $10 bucks.

Increase in alcohol problems.

Increase in awareness.

Increase in enforcement, have all contributed to a slow down in this industry.

  • Now the most common thing we see, is kids in possession of a slightly older persons drivers licenses or ID cards. A 21-year-old will sell his or her ID to a younger friend, or the younger kids steal the ID cards from wallets or purses while at a party or get together.
  • To be in possession of a false ID is a crime.
  • To use a false ID to purchase alcohol is a bigger crime.

I tell you right here and now, that one time you get busted you’re going to regret all those Friday night parties you went to. It just isn’t worth the consequences.

Business owners.

You have a responsibility to know who your clerks are selling alcohol to. I used to work at a grocery store and it would take me a minute to figure out how old someone was when I looked at their date of birth. Sometimes I would get confused and not be sure.

To this day as a Cop, I have a small label with the date for 21 year olds in my cite book that I change daily. It’s a quick reference when I’m dealing with people under 21 and it’s something that you could easily post at your cash register. Takes away any doubt a clerk might have.

One slip could cost you your alcohol license and some pretty incredible fines!

SHOP LIFTING:

The last thing that we see is shop lifting. Kids will go into a grocery store on a Friday or Saturday night, loiter around the liquor isle, and use friends as look-outs to announce when the clerk is watching or approaching.

What most the kids don’t know is that the store personnel are usually up on this, and start watching closely as soon as you get near that beer case! They use one way mirrors and before you can slip that bottle in your baggy jeans, or the 12 pack in your back pack, they are escorting you to the security office waiting our arrival. Now you have criminal theft charges to deal with in addition to the alcohol violations!

To the kids who work in the stores and sell to their friends…

It’s not worth the risk. If you care about doing the right thing and care about what your employer thinks of you, don’t get sucked in by peer pressure when your friends want you to sell them beer.

  • If you want to lose your job and have a “termination” on your work record,
  • If you want to let your family down,
  • If you want to let your employer down,
  • If you want to see your employer fined $10,000.00,
  • If you want to see your employer lose their alcohol sales license for 30 days,
  • If you want to face criminal charges, Then Go for it!

If not, then you had better recognize that “friends” wouldn’t put you in this position in the first place. Don’t play the game. Whatever you do in life, DO IT WELL. That includes your first job in life as a clerk in a store or convenience market.

What do I always say? Every action has a reaction. It’s up to you what type of reactions you’ll experience in your young life.

What do we always hear?

“C’mon officer, weren’t you a kid once?”

“We don’t have anything better to do?”

“My folks don’t care if I drink, they know I drink”.

“There’s nothing to do in this town but drink”.

“Don’t you drink at home officer?”

“It’s not like we’re using drugs”

Yes I was a kid once. Yes I take that into consideration, but there is a difference between experimentation and a kid who has never been in trouble before, verses the kids we see during repeated numerous contacts suggesting a pattern is developing.

We don’t have anything better to do. THAT’S BS! If that’s the best “Lame A–” excuse you can come up with then I feel sorry for you.

At age (18) I worked 2 jobs. I owned a 17- foot ski boat that I rebuilt after finding it on the side of the road. I was active in sports, raced semi professional motocross, competed in water skiing, went hunting and fishing with my dad and brother.

I formed my dreams in life and I went after them. I remember sailing off a double jump at a race with my Mom and Dad watching, on a motorcycle that I had bought with my own money. I got the motorcycle to the races in my own Van that I had bought with my own money. The 85 trophy’s I won made me proud and it was even better knowing that my parents were proud of me! I did it all myself.

My folks were always there for me but basically I was brought up to know that “if you wanted something, you worked for it.” I didn’t have brand new shiny things. They were used but I took care of them and for being a young kid I had many things that a teenager doesn’t. While most kids were looking for something to do during summer vacation, me and my friends were water skiing in the delta behind my ski boat that we had built up to look like new.

I also had the trust and respect of my parents who allowed me to do all these things because they new my life didn’t revolve around laying on the couch watching MTV all day and looking for the next party on Friday night. You don’t have anything better to do than spot a 12 pack of beer and sit around with dead-beat friends? You deserve to get busted by the cops!

Your folks don’t care if you drink? That’s a “Cop out” (No pun intended) but you know what? I believe many of you when you tell me that. Because I see the lack of caring when your parents arrive to pick you up from a party we’ve busted! That parental attitude is inexcusable but I am a firm believer that “You make your bed and you lay in it!”

At 16 and 17 you’re old enough to know the difference between right and wrong. Even if your parents condone you drinking, YOU KNOW THAT DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT!

To the kid who takes advantage of that lack of parental support, I feel sorry for you but I’ll still nail you anyway I can to enforce upon you the fact that “IT AIN’T COOL!”

To the kid who rises above those circumstances, makes their own dreams, and WORKS towards fulfilling those dreams, there’s nothing in the world I wouldn’t do to support you!

You make the choice. 

Don’t you drink at home Officer? I have to laugh when kids ask me this. I’m 42 years old! When you get to be my age you’ll appreciate an occasional glass of wine with dinner.

Or a cold beer while watching a football game. Or an ice cold Margarita with some friends you invited over. But that’s AFTER YOU TURN 21!

You wouldn’t always know it, but with age maturity is supposed to follow. With maturity, privileges are acquired. Drinking is one of those.

You can’t drive a car until you’re 16 years old in California. You know what happens to you if you use that privilege before you’re supposed to. In California the legal drinking age is 21. If you use that privilege before it’s time, you’re going to end up getting slammed because of a thing called “ZERO TOLERANCE”. You make the choice.

We have more than enough irresponsible adults who abuse drinking. We don’t need underage drinkers to make it worse.

Last but not least, my favorite excuse I hear;

“It’s not like we’re doing drugs officer…”

This is my opinion and my opinion only. Alcohol is a drug. It kills on a nightly basis. It alters your mind and how you view life and dreams. I have arrested far more people under the influence of alcohol who have killed, maimed, or injured people, than I have who were under the influence of cocaine or marijuana or pills.

Alcohol kills. Alcohol destroys. Alcohol rips families apart. Alcohol can cost you your job. Alcohol can prompt suicide. Alcohol causes divorce. And we sell it legally in thousands of liquor stores across America.

Alcohol is like owning a brand new Honda CB 1100 Motorcycle. A rocket ship on 2 wheels capable of speeds in excess of 140 mph. If you take care of that motorcycle and ride it responsibly, that motorcycle will take you to many beautiful places. How bout a Sunday morning ride up the windy coastline roads of highway 1 in northern California?

We’re talking spectacular views and scenery.

Ride that same bike in an irresponsible manner at speeds way over the speed limit, and 3 things could happen. You’ll crash and kill yourself, you’ll crash and kill an innocent person, or both.

As with everything in life, you have a choice. Treat the privilege of drinking with respect and you’ll never have to worry about “crashing”. Abuse the privilege, and someday you’re going to plummet off that coastal highway road to the rocks below, in the ultimate crash and burn.

Not a drug? Believe that and you’re a fool. It’s a drug and one that society sells legally.

The responsibility is up to you.

Before I close let me run a couple things by you.

For you young people under the age of 21.

A year or two ago, California started the “Zero Tolerance” Administrative Per Se order set by the department of motor vehicles. This is administrative action taken by DMV aside from the courts.

If you are stopped by a cop while driving a vehicle, and you exhibit ANY signs of having consumed alcohol, you are REQUIRED to submit to a field breath test on a PAS device.

(Preliminary Alcohol Screening)  

The legal limit to get slammed for a DUI as an adult is .08.

The legal limit to get slammed for a DUI as a Juvenile is .05

Zero tolerance mandates that if you are under the age of 21 with a blood alcohol content of .01 percent, the officer yanks your license right there and right then FOR ONE YEAR!

God help you a year later when you get your license back and you see what it’s done to your already high insurance rates. We’re talking ONE YEAR of no driving. No school dances, no dates, no football games, no cruising with your buddies.

I’ve had kids that had only one or two sips of beer that blew a .01 on the PAS. It is not contestable. You can’t get a lawyer. It’s administrative not criminal proceedings, and THERE WILL BE NO HEARING!

That’s why they call it “ZERO TOLERANCE”!

You think I’m kidding? If you see a cop sitting in his or her patrol car on a street corner and they look bored, ask them if you can take a quick look at the back-side of the “Zero Tolerance DMV Admin Per Se form”.  It’s right there in black and white.

 Keep in mind that’s California law. If you question what the laws are in the State where you live, “ask a cop that works in your area”. I’m thinking that cop will be more than happy to steer you in the direction for a minute or two, rather than have to watch your life crash and burn from making a stupid mistake.

This is my last piece of advice to parents and neighbors.

You need to know what the anatomy of a teen drinking party is:

  • Teen drinking parties will most always take place at the house of a friend whose parents are away on vacation or business.
  • The host of the party tells a few friends and plans on maybe 10 or 15 coming over to the house. Those friends tell other friends, and soon there’s an excess of 50 or more kids coming over to “Justin’s house”.
  • The kids will “carpool” but there will still be a large number of cars parked on your street that don’t belong there. All of them occupied by young teens.
  • Kids who want to “crash” the party uninvited, but can’t get inside, will mill around the street drinking the alcohol they brought with them.
  • The music from the house will get louder and louder.
  • The yelling and laughing from the house and backyard will get louder and louder.
  • The kids in the street will start throwing beer cups, cans, and bottles on the street or lawns.
  • Male teens, (and a couple of female teens who have to go like really bad) will start urinating on your lawns, trees, and cars parked on the street. As the alcohol takes effect, the yelling will get louder now filled with obscenities.
  • An occasional fight will take place but other kids will try to break it up so that “the cops aren’t called.” This rarely works and serious injuries and deaths occur.
  • As the night progresses, more and more cars will “cruise” the party to see whose there. The loud pounding bass of Rap music will shake your walls, or your sleep. Squealing tires will become more frequent as these young reckless teens show everyone how cool they are because they know where the accelerator is at.
  • In a really violent gang populated area, drive-by shootings are frequent and often the person getting shot or killed isn’t one of the party goers. It’s a neighbor, friend, or child.

Several things could happen:

  • A neighbor will usually get pissed off to the point of calling the cops.
  • An unsuspecting cop who happened to be cruising through the neighborhood may see what’s happening.
  • Every now and then, the host of the party will see things getting out of control and call 911 anonymously so that they don’t look like the “bad guy” making everyone leave when the cops arrive.  

These additional things WILL happen. It’s just a matter of time.

  • Some moron will go into Mom and Dad’s bedroom and steal jewelry and other valuables. (Guns, Stereo’s, T.V’s, VCR’s, Laptop computers, and cash to name a few…)
  • Someone will get into a fight and furniture will get broken.
  • Stains in the carpets.
  • Burn holes in the carpets and on the counter from cigarettes and marijuana.
  • A 16-year-old girl loses her virginity on your bed.
  • Cars on the street vandalized.
  • Your kid gets busted for hosting and you pay the criminal and CIVIL fines.
  • The worst yet, drunk kids driving home taking a chance on killing themselves or somebody else.

The next morning your house will be trashed. It will stink like a brewery. The street will be littered with garbage and broken glass.

I’ve responded to rapes of young girls, skulls split open with a baseball bats, and even shootings. All at these “innocent teen get-togethers”.

Here it comes….”Every Action has a Reaction”.

Parents:

  • Notify neighbors when you will be away. Have them promptly notify you, OR THE POLICE, if they suspect a teen drinking party is taking place at your house. When your kids know someone is watching, it usually prevents the above from happening.
  • The “older brother was watching him bit” doesn’t cut it either. Get extra insurance. HAVE YOUR NEIGHBORS WATCH THE HOUSE and let your kids know that is happening!
  • Explain to your kids that you are TRUSTING them to be responsible while home alone, and that ANY VIOLATION of that trust will be DEALT WITH ACCORDINGLY!
  • Call and check in frequently. A surprise phone call can often tell you a lot by what you hear in the background.
  • ALWAYS leave an emergency contact number with a neighbor in the event of an emergency and we need to reach you.
  • Feel free to call your local police department and request “EXTRA PATROL” or a “VACATION HOUSE CHECK”. It’s a free service to you, and what kid is gonna host a drinking party when the cops are cruising the neighborhood every couple hours?

Neighbors:

  • You do not have to put up with this irresponsible crap in your neighborhood. If your neighbor doesn’t want to tell you that they are leaving the teens behind for the weekend that’s fine. You still have a right to make sure your peaceful street stays PEACEFUL.
  • If you notice any of the telltale signs listed above, PLEASE CALL US. You can remain anonymous if you’re worried about pissing someone off. We never tell the problem people where the complaint came from anyways, but you don’t have to worry about having to give your name.
  • Curbing this action before it gets started in full swing flat out does one thing. IT SAVES LIVES! If you have the attitude “I don’t want to get involved” and you read in the morning paper about a major or fatal accident that took a life because you didn’t call us….. No further comment is needed.

There are many variables.

Good kids make mistakes.

Good kids don’t make any mistakes.

Bad kids make mistake after mistake.

Bad kids are good at being bad and don’t make any mistakes.

Good parents have good kids who make mistakes.

Bad parents have good kids who don’t make mistakes.

Yes we were all young once.

Yes it’s OK to have parties.

NO IT’S NOT LEGAL TO DRINK UNDER THE AGE OF 21 IN CALIFORNIA.  

If we all work together and watch out for our kids, and the kids of others, it could prevent many bad things from happening. Things that never had to happen in the first place. All it takes is a phone call.

Love, Trust, Respect, Responsibility, Communication, Watching out for the guy next door…What ever happened to those things?

Kids, Remember this.

“Roll the dice and Pay the price.”  This one is even better and it comes straight from the mouths of inmates in my county’s jail. “Do the crime, be prepared to do the time!”

To the kids who strictly adhere to the designated driver philosophy, I sincerely salute you. You put many adults to shame.

To the kids who strictly sustain and avoid both alcohol and drugs, you have the total RESPECT, SUPPORT, and ADMIRATION of thousands of Cops, Firefighters, and Paramedics across America. Bluntly put…”You Gottit Goin On!”

This started out describing cops and their different views on this topic.

A few cops don’t want to be bothered by it and may not give you the most enthusiastic demeanor when they contact you. These are the cops who have the kids pour out the beer and tell them to get lost. The cop who doesn’t check sobriety or make parental notifications, is flirting with a whole lot of liability.

Most cops I know realize this is a problem of epidemic proportions and support Zero Tolerance efforts.

A rare number of cops like “Sergeant Tim” go way off the spectrum in enforcing underage drinking. Looking back now, “I see how many lives you saved Timmy.”

God Bless you and every cop like you, who has truly gone beyond the call of duty to  “make a difference” against this on-going problem in society.

JL

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