Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

November 10, 2009

Under-age drinking a constant battle

It is a reality of the times that each weekend many teenagers are looking for a party. Despite being under the legal drinking age of 21, they are often looking for alcohol.

This past weekend was no exception.

About 40 area residents were cited by a special enforcement team of the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department who went to an under-aged drinking party southeast of Goshen early Sunday.

It is a problem that local police agencies battle constantly.

“There’s always an issue related to under-aged drinking,” said Curtis T. Hill, Elkhart County prosecuting attorney. “... A fair number of parents find it acceptable to allow young people to drink alcohol, and of course, it is not.”

Enforcement of drinking laws in Elkhart County often involves either a special team with the sheriff’s department or a multi-agency team organized by the state Excise police.

For a number of years, the STAR program of the sheriff’s department has been funded by a grant from the Elkhart County Drug-Free Partnership to help combat underage drinking and keep young people safe.

The Goshen Police Department also keeps a close eye on underage drinking and encourage residents to let them know if they suspect an underage party is in progress.

“Absolutely, they should call us,” said Assistant Police Chief Mike McCloughen.

He said sometimes local police agencies are called upon to assist state Excise police when they plan a raid on bars to check on under-aged drinking.

Goshen police responded to a loud party call at about midnight Saturday and arrested three 18-year-old residents on charges accusing them of drinking alcohol at a home on the city’s west side.

Many arrested

It was the Sheriff’s department that made the big bust this weekend.

According to a news release, six people were arrested and as many as 34 others were cited and released after police went to a home at 61584 C.R. 33 about 6 a.m. Sunday.

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