Police step up patrols on prom weekend

Teenage drinking on Friday night was an example of the kind of behavior police want to curb.

Six teenagers in one car were pulled over and two teens in the vehicle were issued tickets for possessing alcohol.

Because of the prom weekend, police added one extra patrol car specifically to watch for teenagers drinking and driving.

"Teenagers don't act responsibly with alcohol," Moffat County Sheriff Investigator Jeremy Ashton said. Ashton was responsible for patrolling Saturday night.

"It makes it 10 times worse when teenagers feel they have to drink to feel socially accepted," he said.

In recent years, police have added extra patrols during "high-risk" times of the year for teenagers in an attempt to catch those thought to be drinking and driving or attending parties where alcohol is present. The program, sponsored in part by Moffat County's Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, also offers education to discourage underage drinking.

Since the program was instituted in 2002, Ashton said there has been a decrease in the number of teenagers who are caught with alcohol in their vehicles.

"I don't know if it's keeping kids from drinking, but they're definitely getting smarter about it," he said. "I'd say it's a deterrent."

Every year, police bust at least a few parties where alcohol is present. Ashton said police try to be cognizant of the fact that not everyone who attends a party where alcohol is available is under the influence.

Saturday night's patrol lasted until 4 a.m. Sunday, shortly after an alcohol free post-prom party was set to let out. Ashton couldn't be contacted Sunday for an update on whether any more teenagers were cited for substance abuse infractions.

"This may not prevent all cases (of alcohol abuse), but it may make them think before getting into their cars," Ashton said.

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