Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
Jed Boal reporting High School students across the state are celebrating the end of the school year. And some of those celebrations will get out of control.
So, special squads are on party patrol, to make sure the parties are legal and everyone gets home alive.
This is the hour complaints about beer parties start coming in. And this is the hour a special squad got rolling to go after underage drinking.
These cops are looking for a party. Actually, they're looking for as many teen parties as they can find tonight, and they plan to close them down.
The Youth Alcohol and Drug Enforcement Task Force has been crashing parties for five years, primarily to prevent party-goers from crashing their cars, or committing crimes.
County Sheriff's Lt. Andy Burton heads the task force.
Lt. Andy Burton/Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office: “All mischief that young people get into is generally tied to alcohol or drugs."
So the squads go looking for it, and find it.
Four agencies team up: the Sheriff's Office, South and West Jordan Police Departments, and new this year, the Sandy Police Department.
Lt. Andy Burton/Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office: “From those four agencies we always have a beer party going on on Friday and Saturday nights."
Burton says the patrols make a difference, and have cut the number of crashes...and drug and alcohol-related crime.
The task force averages 30 arrests a shift. At one party they busted 125 people. The majority of the charges? Minors in possession of alcohol.
Burton says organized events usually keep graduates out of trouble on graduation night, but he expects the parties to pick up in the days ahead.
Lt. Andy Burton/Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office: "Many of the high school graduates go on a trip. For the kids that don't go on these kinds of trips, they're still around and in a party mood, sometimes they'll end up at a beer party."
This is a year-round program funded by a highway safety grant. They simply put more patrols on the road when they're expecting a lot of activity.