Officers from multiple area agencies took part in controlled party dispersal training Thursday to learn how to safely crack down on underage drinking.
The training involved underage student volunteers staging a fake keg party in the parking lot of the Alamo Area Regional Law Enforcement Academy.
Each student was given a role to play as groups of officers practiced busting up the party.
“Minimizing people getting away or driving away after having something to drink, securing the premises and holding the person who supplied the alcohol responsible as well, because that's really important,” said Steve Ross with Texans Standing Tall.
The exercise was made possible by a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation and coordinated by Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Texans Standing Tall and the San Antonio Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.
Police from SAPD, UTSA, St. Mary’s University, Seguin, Weatherford, Pleasanton, Boerne and Austin participated.
“You have some that try to leave the scene and we have officers in place that can bring them back,” said UTSA officer Miranda Tupper. “We had another student in this situation that was down with a medical emergency, so we had several different scenarios going on in one major scenario.”
Officers say the exercise is also a way for them to brush up on how to handle new vices they might encounter.
“Fake IDs that they’re getting on the internet,” said Officer John Insalata with SAPD, “and not only alcohol, but synthetic marijuana that’s popping up.”
Ross says the exercise provides a lesson to be learned for parents who think the safe option is to host a party and control the drinking by taking away teens’ car keys.
“There are consequences of sexual assault, alcohol poisoning. There are also consequences of vandalism and violence,” Ross said.
San Antonio was the first Texas city to host the training program, which will travel next to Bryan/College Station and continue on to Lufkin and El Paso.