PIQUA, Ohio (WDTN) – It’s the time of the year for graduation and end of school year parties.
That’s why Piqua police are working to raise awareness about what could happen to anyone who serves alcohol to those under 21.
“I actually had the opportunity to talk to some teens recently and said what suggestions do you have for keeping you guys safe,” said Piqua Police Chief Bruce Jamison.
Chief Jamison wants to prevent any alcohol related injuries this year to those under 21.
“Resoundingly, they said ‘get all of our friends parents to stop providing alcohol.'”
He says taking away the keys is not the answer.
The Piqua Police Department is now working to raise awareness before the first drink is poured.
“A lot of people with the best of intentions provide alcohol to teens, thinking things like, well, if I do it here in the safety of my house, it’s better than them doing it somewhere else,” said Chief Jamison. “The trouble with that is it’s illegal.”
Ohio law states parents are free to provide alcohol to their own children.
“It doesn’t extend to the children of your friends or your child’s friends.”
That law is not always followed and police end up investigating reports of underage drinking parties.
“Our patrol officers go out and end up committing a vast amount of resources because half the kids scatter, some of them get hurt while they’re running away, others are hiding.”
They’re encouraging citizens to call them with tips.
“We’ll send an officer out with information and provide it directly to the homeowner about what all they have to lose if they host a party.”
Penalties include a maximum of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. You can be sued you if you give alcohol to anyone under 21 and they in turn hurt themselves or others.
Officers can take any alcohol, money or property used while committing the offense.
In addition to the letter, patrols will be increased in the area of the addresses reported.
Chief Jamison says the goal of the Party Hotline is simply to keep everyone safe.
“I don’t care if we write a single ticket, but we will.”
The Party Hotline is completely anonymous… and is run through Piqua Crime Stoppers.
You can call 615-TIPS (8477) with information about plans for a party.
You can also submit a tip online or via text message by sending keyword PIQUAPD to 274637 (CRIMES).
You can also visit the national online Federal Trade Commission campaign Don’t Serve Teens online.