ADAMS, Mass. — The Police Department has received a $4,642.90 grant to combat underage drinking.
It is one of 76 grants ranging from $3,500 and $15,000 awarded to local police departments on a competitive basis. Adams was the only Berkshire community to receive a grant.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention provided $532,000 to Massachusetts for distribution through the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security's Highway Safety Division.
"This much needed funding helps us target the problem of underage drinking on all fronts," said Chief Richard Tarsa Jr. "Whether you are underage, plan to sell to a minor, or buy alcohol for a minor, this funding promotes our effort to diligently enforce the laws against underage drinking."
The money will support stings/compliance checks for minors in bars, restaurants and retail locations; reverse stings; "shoulder tap" (i.e. tapping someone on the shoulder and asking them to buy alcohol) prevention and "Cops in Shops" programs, and party patrols. Through a combination of these techniques, departments analyze and crack down on minors who seek to circumvent the law and people and businesses that enable them.
Over the past two years, activities under this grant have resulted in 153 youth citations and 219 arrests. Citations were also issued to 162 adults and 272 arrests were made across the commonwealth.
"Teens and parents need to be reminded that underage drinking is not a game. It's deadly serious," said Tarsa. "Parents need to know that hosting a party where alcohol is served to minors is illegal and extremely dangerous for the minors and others in the community. Parents should also know they'll face all legal liabilities."
Progress has been made in Massachusetts over the last several years. Violations for underage drinking decreased 41.5 percent from 2007 to 2011 and arrests of drivers under 18 for operating under the influence decreased 45.4 percent from 2006 to 2010. Despite this trend, advocates say more work needs to be done to further reduce underage drinking and driving.
The Adams Police Department, in partnership with the state and federal agencies supporting the grants, recognizes that traffic crashes are preventable, said Tarsa, and is committed to using the grant to reduce the number of motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries in Adams because any loss of life or injury on our roadways is one too many.
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