Law Enforcement Agencies Pool Resources to Curb Underage Drinking
Contact Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (May 24, 2012) – Recognizing that separate jurisdictions and authority are limited when it comes to enforcing laws pertaining to the sale and consumption of alcohol, Johnson County law enforcement agencies are taking a team approach to combatting underage drinking.
Law enforcement officers recently participated in a Memorandum of Understanding and Mutual Aid Agreement signing ceremony to establish the new county-wide (CCoRC) Alcohol Enforcement Team. Professional law enforcement personnel from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department; Warrensburg,
Knob Noster, and Holden police departments, and University of Central Missouri Department of Public Safety have joined the team. Leaders from Whiteman Air Force Base who are actively engaged in the CCoRC coalition also were among those present at the signing ceremony to show their support for this collaborative effort.
The Alcohol Enforcement Team MOU makes it possible for personnel from different departments to cooperate outside their jurisdictions in support of activities to prohibit the sale of alcohol to minors, to prevent the purchase and consumption of alcohol by minors, and to decrease the number of people who drive while intoxicated. Such efforts include operations such as ID checks to prohibit sale of alcohol to minors and saturations to keep people who are driving under the influence of alcohol off the roadways.
Funding to help make such activities possible comes from an underage drinking laws grant provided through the U.S. Department of Justice. UCM’s Office of Violence and Substance Abuse Prevention and Warrensburg Area Partners in Prevention were instrumental in helping to secure the grant.
The unified effort between law enforcement personnel is designed to provide a safer environment in participating communities and promote responsible choices where alcohol is concerned, according to Jeff Huffman, Department of Justice grant local program coordinator.
“In a short definition, CCoRC supports legal and low-risk consumption of alcohol. We’re not supportive of high-risk drinking or illegal use of alcohol,” said Huffman, who noted that education is a key part of the team effort.
The grant helps fund educational opportunities for business owners such as free server training to individuals who work in establishments that serve alcohol, and the Wing It at Whiteman program, an alcohol-free activities initiative. Through Wing It, underage airmen and UCM students work together to plan activities they would like to attend that do not center around alcohol.
“That’s the beauty of this whole grant,” said Bruce Howey, Warrensburg police chief. “It’s not just enforcement. It’s part of an overall strategy that is going to be effective.”