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Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Tackling underage drinking in Long Beach
Police attend seminar to learn new strategies aimed at prevention
By Alexandra Spychalsky
Police officers practiced getting an underage party under control, taking down names and contacting parents to pick up the kids.

Last week, officers from several local police departments underwent training to learn the most effective methods to deter underage drinking and break up high school parties.

The Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center, a national organization that provides training to help communities in their efforts to enforce underage drinking laws, came to Long Beach to teach a two-day seminar at the Allegria Hotel, sponsored by Long Beach Medical Center's Coalition to Prevent Underage Drinking and the Long Beach Police Department.

The organization has taught its methods across the country, including 19 other places in New York. Instructors taught officers new approaches for controlling kids at the scene of a party and keeping everyone safe. They also taught prevention methods, including how to use the Internet and social media to gather evidence.

“The reason we do this is, clearly, it’s a problem in this community, but also because alcohol is still the number one drug of choice,” said Judi Vining, director of the coalition. “It’s really easy for families to say, ‘Thank god they’re only drinking.’ Yet there’s more damage caused by alcohol to kids than other drugs.”

Vining said that Long Beach’s underage drinking problem is dire, far above the state average. She said that 70 percent of the kids the coalition works with say they drink at parties in homes. Just last week, city police officers issued a social host violation to the host of a party on Forester Street, after responding to a noise complaint and observing minors leaving the house holding alcoholic drinks.

“It’s not like you can stop every party,” said Vining. “But you really want them to get the message that the community, as well as the Police Department, take this very seriously.”

The first day of the seminar focused on “controlled party dispersal,” to keep the scene under control when breaking up a party, and preventing kids from fleeing, which — whether by foot, bike or car — puts them in danger, Vining said.

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barbaraweiss

THIS WOULD ALL STOP IF THE DRINKING AGE WAS 18AND NOT 21. STUDIES SHOW THAT THE YEARS BETWEEN 18 AND 21 ARE THE ONES THAT THIS KIDS GET INTO TROUBLE. THEY HAVE NOTHING ELSETO DO BECAUSE THEY CNT GO ANYWHERE UNTIL THEY ARE 21. THIS IS INSAN . MAKE IT 18 AND YOU ARE AN ADULT PERIOD. THEY ENGAGE IN THE THE UNDERAGE DRINKING AND PARTYING AS A THRILL. THEN FINALLY AT THE AGE OF 21 THEY BING DRINK ON THEIR BIRTHDAY AND DIE. DOES ANY OF THIS MAKE SENSE. ? IF WE DONT WANT THEN DRINKING AND DRIVING WHY ARE WE GIVING THEM DRVERS LISCENSES AT 16 ? THE PARENTS GIVE THEM THE LETHAL WEAPON TO GO TO THE PARTY AND THEN THEY DRINK.. 21 THEY BING DRINK AND DIE ON THEIR BIRTHDAYS. THIS FOCUS ON 21 YEARS OLD IS RIDICULOUS. IT SHOULD E 18 YEARS OLD ACROOS THE BOARD FOR EVERYTHING. WHY CAN THEY VOTE AT 18 AND DRIVE AT 16. YOU WOULD SEE A REAL CHANGE IN ALL OF THIS BEHAVIOR IF 18 WAS THE MAGIC NUMBER. THEY WOULD BE TREATED AS ADULTS AND NOT CONTINUE ON THIS DOWNWARD SPIRAL OF INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR WE ACTUALLY HAVE DIFFERENT LAWS FOR DUI AND DWI'S FOR 18 AND 21 YEAR OLD. THIS IS ABSURD. WHEN I GREW UP THE AGE OF REASON FOR ALL OF THIS WAS 18 AND YOU WERE RESPONSIBLE.

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