'Party Patrols' protect teenagers
Editor of the Reformer:
The end of the school year is a very exciting and hectic time for high school students and their parents. Proms are taking place and graduation parties are being planned. With all this fun comes the possible danger of underage drinking and all the negative effects that could result.
Because Windham County Partnership for Success coalitions (including Brattleboro Area Prevention Coalition, The Collaborative, Deerfield Valley Community Partnership, Greater Falls Connections and West River Valley Thrives) is committed to supporting healthy behaviors for area youths and to discourage high-risk, unhealthy behaviors, they have collaborated with the Windham County Sheriff's Office and local law enforcement, to implement "Party Patrols." These targeted enforcement efforts will take place throughout Windham County during this prom and graduation season by providing additional officers and deputies to patrol at night in order to prevent unsupervised underage parties.
Like adults, teens enjoy attending parties and getting together with their friends. The goal of "Party Patrols" is not to eliminate parties; rather, the goal is to discourage underage drinking or other drug use and encourage safe and responsible behavior. The Windham County PFS coalitions, along with the Windham County Sheriff's Office would like to use this opportunity to remind the community that individuals can be held criminally responsible for hosting, organizing or allowing underage drinking on their property. Those, under 21, partaking in alcohol use, as well as those adults who provide alcohol or a space for underage parties will be held responsible.
In addition, anyone can report an underage party. To report suspicions of underage drinking (at a party or otherwise), call the police department non-emergency telephone number in your area. Reports will help law enforcement identify where underage drinking is occurring and help "Party Patrols" have a greater impact for our community.
These patrols are being implemented through funding from the Vermont Department of Health Partnership for Success Grant. The goal is to bring the community together to make Windham County a safe place for everyone, especially youths.
Cindy Hayford, Deerfield Valley Community Partnership, May 11