June 16, 2009
Parents can do duty of Party Patrol
There are numerous government agency programs the public has come to depend on, but budget cuts have put them on hold or dropped them altogether. The King County Sheriff’s Party Patrol Task Force is one of them. The program aimed at preventing underage drinking and driving is the latest to fall victim to the budget ax.Local police officers have historically been part of that task force. Only a few weeks ago, Issaquah police broke up a party in a Squak Mountain neighborhood that resulted in citations for 34 teens and adults under age 21.
According to a spokesman for the sheriff’s department, underage drinking citations generally go to high school students. The real concern, of course, is that drinking and driving will lead to someone’s death. It happens annually this time of year as the weather warms up — teens have more free time to enjoy themselves, and graduation parties abound.
Will Issaquah youth spend the summer mourning the death of one of their own? We pray not.
The fact is that we shouldn’t need the Party Patrol to prevent underage drinking and driving. That’s what parents are for. A parent patrol of adults watching out for their own teens, their teen’s friends, their neighboring teens or any other teens could effectively limit minors from alcohol consumption in the first place.
Unfortunately, some parents think a good approach is to let teens use their home to enjoy a beer or two with their friends. “Better than having them drink and drive” is how they justify it. But teaching kids that breaking the law as long as they don’t hurt anyone is not acceptable. Let’s not forget that parents who allow the drinking are also breaking the law and open themselves up to all kinds of liability issues.
With the Party Patrol gone, we hope parents will step up, partner with other parents and keep their youths safe — while teaching them to respect the law. There are plenty of special summer activities to keep them busy without a beer buzz.