In an effort to crack down on underage drinking during the prom and graduation season, Omaha metro area law enforcement officers conducted a wave of compliance checks last week on April 9th and 10th. The heightened underage drinking enforcement operations resulted in 22 (8%) of the 264 on-and-off sale outlets checked in Douglas and Sarpy Counties allegedly selling alcohol to a minor. This figure is down from the December 2014 enforcements which resulted in a ten percent noncompliant rate.
"As young people celebrate their proms and graduations and college students begin coming home for the summer, it is critical that laws related to underage drinking are enforced," said Nicole Carritt, executive director of Project Extra Mile.
Ninety-six percent of the compliant businesses checked for proper identification. Carritt noted, "We are pleased to see that retailers who are consistently checking IDs are not giving minors any opportunity to buy alcohol at their establishment."
More than 30 officers from six law enforcement agencies participated in the enhanced underage drinking enforcement effort.
As Project Extra Mile commemorates 20 years of service, it recognizes the Bellevue Police Department, Douglas County Sheriff's Office, La Vista Police Department, Nebraska State Patrol, Omaha Police Department and Sarpy County Sheriff's Office for their long-term partnership and commitment to reducing and preventing underage drinking throughout Nebraska.
"We want to extend our deepest gratitude to our friends in law enforcement," said Nicole Carritt, executive director for Project Extra Mile. "Their strong commitment to enforcing underage drinking laws is an essential element in all statewide community prevention efforts. Nebraska would not have made as much progress as it has without their help."
To assist in reporting underage drinking or adults providing alcohol to minors, call the statewide tip line anonymously at 1-866-Must-B-21 (687-8221). Individuals are also encouraged to call 911 to report an underage drinking party in progress.
Heightened enforcements are supported by the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety and Grant #93.243 under the Strategic Prevention Framework-Partnership for Success Grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Substance Abuse Prevention through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and Region 6 Behavioral Healthcare. The Nebraska Office of Highway Safety also funds the tip line. Project Extra Mile helped to coordinate the enforcement efforts.