Wednesday, March 9, 2011

“Teen Angel” Campaign to Curb Underage Drinking in Overland Park

Underage drinking by high school students and others under the age of 21 will not be tolerated. During spring break and the months leading up to prom dances, graduation, and parties, undercover officers will deploy on key nights for the sole purpose of identifying and arresting underage people who consume alcohol. Additionally, officers will target anyone who provides alcohol to underage consumers.

Officers working the Teen Angel program have been directed to aggressively enforce all underage drinking laws. Some may remember a time when officers who encountered minors consuming alcohol would have them pour it out, and send them on their way with a stern warning. Not anymore. Consumption of alcohol by minors is recognized as a serious problem in the community, and is dealt with accordingly.

One of the primary targets of the Teen Angel program will be underage drinking parties. In the past we have encountered parents who are under the mistaken impression they can safely host a party where minors are consuming beer and other liquor. This is a very dangerous situation, and one in which the hosts can find themselves in serious legal trouble. We are specifically on the look-out for these parties, and will hold the appropriate individuals responsible.

We will have undercover officers working in areas where alcohol is purchased, including liquor stores, convenience stores and bars. We will also partner with Kansas ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) and conduct compliance checks on retail liquor establishments, utilizing underage “agents”. The majority of establishments are diligent in their efforts not to sell to minors, however there are exceptions.

Anyone under the age of 18 will be charged through Johnson County District Court; and those 18 and older may be charged through the Overland Park Municipal Court.

The Kansas Department of Transportation has awarded the Department a $19,599.00 grant for the purpose of Enforcement of Underage Drinking laws.

For additional information contact Sgt. Dan Carney at 913/327-6950.