A team of 30 police officers and community volunteers conducted an underage drinking intervention patrol in East Pierce County on Jan. 17, according to Pierce County officials. Thirty-five mostly 17 and 18 year olds from Emerald Ridge and Rogers High Schools were arrested for minor in possession.
Officers responding to advance tips and complaints from neighbors responded to a teen drinking party at the 2200 block of 26th Place S.E. in Puyallup shortly after midnight. A car attempting to leave the party with three teenage passengers, driven by an impaired high school student, was intercepted by the multi-agency patrol. The driver’s blood alcohol level was .145, over seven times the .02 limit for drivers under 21.
Officers also sent a male teenager to the hospital who was found in a bathtub unresponsive and suffering from alcohol poisoning. Youths arrested at the party received a brief intervention from a chemical dependency professional who assessed whether they had a problem with alcohol or drugs and, if so, referred them to social service agencies. Additionally, parents who picked their kids up at Kalles Middle School after the arrests, took away tips from trained parents about how to monitor their kids activities and help them avoid alcohol.
Parents also were given sample teen driving contracts, an effort to reduce risky teen driving, and other information about how to recognize the signs of alcohol poisoning. Parents also learned that they could be liable for incidents that occur in their homes at a teen party, even if the party occurred without their permission and while they were not home.
The special patrol was funded by the Washington Traffic Safety mission and sponsored by Tacoma Trauma Trust, Pierce County Leadership for Alcohol- and Drug-free Youth, the Puyallup Police Department and the Tacoma Pierce County DUI Task Force. Participants also included the Pierce County Sheriffs Department and the Bonney Lake, Sumner, Orting and Edgewood Police Departments.