YouthThink, the city of The Dalles and local law enforcement have been working together to bring the Parents Who Host, Lose The Most: Don’t Be a Party to Teenage Drinking public awareness campaign to Wasco County to provide parents with effective information about the health risks and the legal consequences of providing alcohol to youth.
The campaign encourages parents and the community to send a unified message that teen alcohol consumption is not acceptable.
In a recent YouthThink meeting, Debby Jones, YouthThink’s coordinator, shared statistics provided by The Dalles Police Department for Minor in Possession (MIP) citations from this past summer and compared them to the years since the campaign began in 2009. The time period for gathering this year’s statistics began in May, before local graduations in June, and continued through the summer months.
Chief of Police Jay Waterbury reported there were 11 MIP-alcohol citations reported for this past period. There were 34 citations in 2012.
In 2008, before the campaigns began, there were 87 in the reporting period. So the results show a considerable reduction in citations.
Scott Hege, Wasco County commissioner. asked “If law enforcement played a role as far as officers ‘dumping’ alcohol and sending youth home without a citation?”
The Dalles Police ChiefJay Waterbury said the department has a zero tolerance policy regarding minors and alcohol and that he is not aware of officers not citing youth and “dumping” alcohol instead.
Those in attendance heartily agreed with the no tolerance policy. Jones concurred with Waterbury’s statement and noted that for years The Dalles had reported higher rates than surrounding communities because of that policy.
“This past summer was one of the best for lack of juvenile arrests and citations in general,” Waterbury said.
The group said the Parents Who Host Lose the Most campaign is having a positive impact in Wasco County, but ongoing efforts are needed because overall underage drinking rates have not decreased at the same rate as the Minor in Possession citations.