Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Those who host lose the most"

I attended a press conference today at the North Patrol Division with Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd and Vicky Ward, a representative of the Northland Coalition to reduce underage drinking.

We were there to spread the message about how seriously we take adults providing alcohol to minors. This came in the wake of felony charges against a Kansas City mother and another woman for providing alcohol to several 13- and 14-year-old girls at a 14th birthday party. The women not only provided alcohol to the girls, but encouraged them to drink it. The mother offered $10 to whoever could drink a glass of vodka the fastest, and the mother’s friend poured rounds of vodka shots for everyone.

In this case, officers were called to the house in the 1600 block of NW 55th Terrace at about 2 a.m. Feb. 22 on a report of a party with teens and alcohol. They found one 14-year-old girl passed out and ordered an ambulance to take her to the hospital because they feared she was suffering from alcohol poisoning. Her blood alcohol content was later determined to be .218. Another 13-year-old girl also was hospitalized to prevent alcohol poisoning. Fortunately, both girls are out of the hospital and recovering.

Officers also found 60 to 70 empty beer bottles in the basement of the house, along with several empty bottles of bourbon, vodka and whiskey. Originally 40 to 50 children were at the party, and all but six girls left. The two adults engaged in the heaviest drinking with these girls.

Our Crimes Against Children and Vice section detectives investigated this incident. They thought it was serious enough to pursue felony state charges. Prosecutor Zahnd agreed, and both women have been charged with felony child endangerment. They are in custody on cash bonds of $25,000 and $20,000, respectively.

The Kansas City Missouri Police Department obviously takes these types of cases very seriously. This time of year, with proms and graduation parties, we are sending a strong message that adults providing alcohol to juveniles and teen drinking will not be tolerated. We want to prevent any senseless tragedies like alcohol poisoning or drunk driving crashes.

The North Patrol Division, in particular, has made stopping house parties where alcohol is served to children a priority.

For some sobering statistics on teen drinking and why we are committed to enforcing the laws associated with it, check out this flyer from the Northland Coalition:

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