Since 2010, the Way Out West Coalition has funded Buckeye Party Patrol, who are officers from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office and/or Buckeye Police Department. While the title may conjure ideas of police rushing across the city, breaking up any party they can find, the truth is a little different.
Party Patrol has numerous responsibilities, one of which is education. Officers carry information on Buckeye’s Social Host Ordinance and other dangers of alcohol and drug use. They are a resource for people with whom they contact.
Social Host Ordinance
A second responsibility is upholding the Social Host Ordinance. From the Party Patrol page on the website,
“With the passage of the first Social Host Ordinance in Maricopa County, Buckeye police, city leaders, parents, and grassroots leaders decided to actively pursue those endangering our youth who were providing alcohol, drugs, and even places to party in the Greater Buckeye area.”
Party Patrol uses the Social Host Ordinance to stop adult promotion of underage drinking.
A third responsibility for Party Patrol is active enforcement of the law. Based on the Arizona Youth Survey, underage drinking contributes to a slew of harmful activities. Three of those activities are crime, drinking and driving (or riding with those who are drinking and driving), and unplanned teenage pregnancy. Other consequences exist for underage drinking as well. To read about them, see our previous blog, Alcohol and Our Buckeye Teens, Part 2.
So, has Buckeye Party Patrol been successful? At first, officers cited hundreds of people for alcohol related offense. Over the last few years, that number dropped significantly, but not because we’ve stopped Party Patrol or reduced enforcement. It’s because the word is out: drinking and partying in Buckeye and the surrounding desert as an underage teenager is not a good idea. For that, we’re ecstatic.
Our hope, and our goal, is to keep Buckeye and its surrounding areas clear of teenage alcohol and substance use. That way, we can give our teens the best possible future.