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Party Patrol Looks for Underage Drinkers

Party Patrol Looks for Underage Drinkers



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Just as that pretty, young lady happy to chat with you on South State may be a police decoy, that nice, young man who just crashed your party may be a plainclothes officer looking for underage drinkers.

The Youth Alcohol and Drug Enforcement Task Force was kept busy breaking up parties over the Memorial Day weekend, and its officers will be on the lookout at parties following commencement ceremonies in the coming days.

The officers arrive in unmarked police cars and they often can pass as high school students themselves. They blend in with the rest of the partygoers -- until they spot violations.

Then they break out the Breathalyzers.

At one party in West Jordan Friday night, they issued 20 misdemeanor citations, mostly for consumption of alcohol by a minor, and another 10 to 12 juveniles were referred to juvenile court.

Task force officers say many young drinkers become drunk drivers, and their work is helping to prevent that.

"It's reducing the number of DUIs and accidents," said Salt Lake County sheriff's Lt. Andy Burton, who is head of the task force and the Metro Gang Unit.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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