Cops will be on lookout for underage drinkers

If you’ve been drinking, consider this your warning.

Officers with the Grand Junction Police Department will be trolling the streets this week, specifically in search of drunken drivers. Law enforcement will also be targeting underage drinkers and breaking up underage parties. They plan to conduct stings at local liquor establishments, trying to curb those who sell alcohol to minors.

“We’ve already had a horrific start to the year. Hopefully this is an effective tool to combat that,” said spokeswoman Kate Porras of the Grand Junction Police Department about a recent spate of drunken driving-related deaths.

Grand Junction police officers already had planned to ramp up DUI and drinking-related enforcement this week as students in high school and Mesa State College are off for a week during spring break, Porras said.

But the deaths of five young people in the past few weeks because of drunken-driving crashes have bolstered law enforcement’s resolve to attempt to prevent any further drinking-related deaths, she said.

Officers who typically work in District 51 schools are helping with patrols, as schools are not in session.

Police also may gather around places or establishments that historically have high volumes of drinking patrons.

It is illegal to ride a bike while intoxicated, but people can walk while inebriated as long as they stay out of the middle of the road, Porras said.

Mesa County Sheriff’s deputies are not planning to ramp up enforcement this week, but deputies will make a stronger presence on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, said spokeswoman Heather Benjamin.

Officers’ efforts are being paid for with the help of a state Law Enforcement Assistance Fund grant and a federal Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws grant.


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