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"IT'S THE COPS!!"
November 15, 2007 7:20 PM   Subscribe

Teenage partiers typically know what to do when the police show up: run. It's so common that some enforcement agencies have developed a protocol to handle the situation. But some underage drinkers came up with a new way to deal with a potential bust: barricade yourselves (and your parents) inside for about five hours (and see if the courts rule in your favor?).
posted by Kibbutz (43 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I knew it would be in Wisconsin before I even clicked on it.
posted by yhbc at 7:33 PM on November 15, 2007


But I love the next story down: "Man shot in leg on northwest side." Pretty specific.
posted by Topkid at 7:35 PM on November 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


Helicopters? Well done, Phoenix. Making paranoid stoner ghost stories a reality since 2007.
posted by abulafa at 7:35 PM on November 15, 2007


From the first link, about a garden raid on a party in New Jersey:

Perhaps even more surprising, however, is the frequency of these kinds of encounters in the well-off suburbs abundantly sprinkled throughout New Jersey.

Surprising? Has the reporter never seen a movie?
posted by dersins at 7:38 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


The legal drinking age in New Jersey, and everywhere else in the country, is 21.

Cripes. That'll work well.

What could possibly go wrong with a policy like that? It's not like they're asking for trouble.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:49 PM on November 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


Wait, helicopters busting parties is weird? We always ran from those in Albuquerque, back in the day. You mean to tell me that it's not typical?
posted by sugarfish at 7:52 PM on November 15, 2007


Ah -- there was the well-publicized Siege of Fulton Avenue
"Just after midnight, Rye [NY] police arrived to bust a house full of partying teenagers. The kids refused to unlock the door, and parents and cops flooded the street. A minute-by-minute account of the standoff."
Now being made into a movie.
posted by ericb at 7:54 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


hah, my younger brother's friends had it all worked out. They carried those hand-held police-radio scanners around with one another. Never, ever got caught. They were long gone by the time the cops got there.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:55 PM on November 15, 2007


Hmmph. When a cop showed up at teen drinking parties in my hometown, a good portion of the time it meant somebody was finally there with some quality drugs.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:07 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


New York Times reporting on the “Fulton Avenue Siege”: Teenagers at Drinking Party Lock Doors as Police Arrive.
“I am perplexed as to why American citizens, regardless of their age, who have the education and wherewithal to assert their constitutional rights not to have officers of the state enter a private residence without a warrant, would be uniformly described in your May 14 [New York Times] news article...as ‘arrogant,’ ‘stupid,’ ‘nervy,’ ‘brazen’ and ‘audacious.’ I have another word for it: patriotic.”

— Michael J.Z. Mannheimer, a criminal-defense lawyer, in a letter to the New York Times, May 20, 2004
posted by ericb at 8:09 PM on November 15, 2007 [13 favorites]


PareidoliaticBoy: Are you saying the drinking age should be raised, or what?

Interesting factoid: When I was a kid, I was always told it was OK for kids to drink alcohol with their parents, but it's now the case that if parents are around when their kids drink, they'll be violating the law in some states.

A lot of kids do die in alcohol related traffic fatalities, though. A lot. I wish there were a simple solution, but it really is a big problem. I wonder what the statistics are on Canadian vs. US alcohol consumptions.

It would be best if we could figure out some way for kids to get home if they did drink, rather then sneaking around.
posted by delmoi at 8:10 PM on November 15, 2007


Heh, running from cops. In college, I was at a party which the cops had apparently busted up the previous weekend and issued underage citations. One of the people who got cited last week was there again and just couldn't get busted again, so he decided it would be a brilliant idea to jump off the balcony to freedom. Ended up breaking an ankle instead. D'oh.

It would be best if we could figure out some way for kids to get home if they did drink, rather then sneaking around.

Actually, it's not toooo hard. Back in the day, my parents were like, "We know when you go to parties there might be alcohol. If you do drink, just call us and we'll pick you up. No questions asked, no grounding, nothing. We just want you safe."
They kept to their word and the appeal of drinking lost it's appeal with the rebellion aspect absent.

ericb:
I agree with the quote. By the same token, most parties I went to basically had an open door policy with people drinking outside. People stopped caring the more smashed they got. Made it real easy on the cops.
posted by jmd82 at 8:23 PM on November 15, 2007


It would be best if we could figure out some way for kids to get home if they did drink, rather then sneaking around.

But then how would you be able to wield your power over them and make yourself feel bigger by making them feel smaller?
posted by Talez at 8:23 PM on November 15, 2007


I remember it being OK to have alcohol at parties if there were adults around when I was young too delmoi-- seems a much more sane policy to me. Better to have somebody responsible around.

This reminds me of the time we tried this strategy at a TSOL show in Hollywood when the cops came in. Everybody sat down and acted peaceful, but that doesn't last long when the Mace begins to fly. I'm glad it worked out better for them.
posted by InfidelZombie at 8:25 PM on November 15, 2007


At last, America is safe.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:27 PM on November 15, 2007


Wait, helicopters busting parties is weird? We always ran from those in Albuquerque, back in the day. You mean to tell me that it's not typical?

Albuquerque? For a second I thought we were talking about Nam. That explains why the cops came in and drank all the beer.
posted by rolypolyman at 8:28 PM on November 15, 2007


"We know when you go to parties there might be alcohol. If you do drink, just call us and we'll pick you up. No questions asked, no grounding, nothing. We just want you safe."

We had the same "call us, no questions asked, etc." policy in my house. I -- and my twin -- used it only once ... and don't know how many times my other siblings took advantage of it.
posted by ericb at 8:33 PM on November 15, 2007


... I -- and my twin -- used it only once ...

You mean, eric...a?
posted by delmoi at 8:37 PM on November 15, 2007 [16 favorites]


''We find that we're not reaching the audience we need to be reaching,'' he said. ''How we fix that, I do not know.''

The audience are the kids. The problem is the more you try to push them away from it the more determined they'll be to experience it.

There are two problems that we have at the moment:

1) Alcohol use is glorified and put up on the pedestal as a reward for getting to 21 without dying. Of course kids are going to want to get to it sooner. The solution? Stop glorifying it, stop putting it on the pedestal as the forbidden fruit and maybe your kids will stop giving a shit about it.

2) Kids are never taught how to use alcohol properly. They don't know anything else than "buy the cheapest cat piss you can find, keep drinking till you get buzzed and then drink some more!". If you teach your kids about how different beers taste, the difference between red and white wine, the difference between whisky and bourbon they'll learn to appreciate it and their aim won't always be to get pissed as fast as possible. Sure there are times that they are going to want to do that but short of installing a tracking chip in them you're not going to be able to stop it. However, if your kid is the one that develops a taste for fine whisky and buys a bottle of it at great expense they'll be more likely to not want to chug it down simply because it needs to be savoured and it needs to last until they can afford the next bottle.

Hell, my dad taught me about beer and drinking when I was about 16. He taught me about light/mid/full strength beer, what was good beer, the different types and taste of beer, how it could be mixed and things like that. The simple fact is that because he didn't give a shit and taught me to appreciate it I didn't feel some urge to go out and get drunk just to screw with my folks.
posted by Talez at 9:12 PM on November 15, 2007 [4 favorites]


We had a local cop who eventually tired of chasing us (and we got tired of running.)

Every summer we'd go poolhopping at community pools with tall fences...if the authorities came in one side, we were on the other side a hundred yards away and jumped the fence out faster than he could. At times, we just stayed in the middle of the pool, knowing full well he wasn't about to come in the water to get us. On one occasion when a particularly squirrelly rent-a-cop hopped the pool fence and we hopped the opposite side, his squirtgun cop car (with the window all the way down, of course) may have been slipped into neutral and a few of us miscreants may have ran it a few blocks to screw with him.

It was strategy, you see.

A few years of this and we were used to being chased by the same few people, the same cars and what have you. At some point, the usual overnight shift cop (recognized by his car's call number) approached us hanging out in a schoolyard and this time nobody ran. Must have been too wasted to care. This time, we just chatted with him for awhile -- and yes, he told us, everytime you scatter and leave your beers I take them home.

He wasn't going to bust us, but he was going to lay down the rules.

He explained that he knew we were just doing what teenagers do, and that we weren't driving drunk (nobody had a license yet) ...and all that was just fine with him. Nothing he did was going to stop us anyway. But his main rule was that we had to clean up after ourselves. Keep the noise down, don't do anything stupid like vandalism, and for god's sake just take the empties and cigarette butts and throw them in the dumpster before daybreak so the kindergarteners don't have to play on a trashed playground come Monday.

We agreed (and were shocked at how cool he was, and how much trouble and beer we could have saved by not running in the first place) and followed the rules from then on. Every time he checked on us, we offered him up some of our Budweiser tallboys. And sometimes, he accepted them ;-)

Once we stopped running, that guy taught me a respect for cops that I retain to this day.
posted by edverb at 9:20 PM on November 15, 2007 [6 favorites]


I was at a house party once that the cops came to and the host answered the door with the phrase "Everyone here is of age." I felt like slapping my forehead.

They didn't come in and mace or pepper spray us, but this was in Canada, so I'm not sure if that's normal (or maybe just a BC protest thing?).
posted by ODiV at 10:28 PM on November 15, 2007


Back in the day when I was a lad, I was at a house party that was crashed by a pile of unsavory types. When we finally managed to evict them, they went around the neighborhood wrecking things and shouting about the party at [redacted]'s house. Needless to say, the police were summoned by many an irate neighbor.

When the police showed up, we had stashed all the liquor, and all of us -- all thirty or so -- were sitting in various places on and around the living room furniture where we could be seen from the door, all ostensibly watching the nightly news with very serious faces.

Mind you, most of us were drunk. And wearing heavy metal gear. And the dog smelled like beer. But the cops looked around at our attempt to pretend we weren't doing anything wrong, laughed, and left.
posted by davejay at 11:11 PM on November 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


Edverb, I've been lucky to run into a couple of those same types of cops myself. They're few and far inbetween, though. They're kind of like the "cool RA's" of the police department. God bless'em.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 11:24 PM on November 15, 2007


"About a year ago, Lieutenant Kinney said, a youth who attended such a house party borrowed a motorcycle and ended up killing himself when he smashed into a telephone poll. The police charged the homeowner with maintaining a nuisance."

Wicked. Smashed into a telephone poll¿ You mean one of those unwanted telemarketing companies calling at your dinner time¿
The writer of this article must have just returned from one of these parties. The Writers Guild stands firm, you aren't one of us.

Great stories. Loved the line 'the dog smelled like beer'. Too funny./

To top it off, the banner ad at the bottom for alcohol rehab. LOL[hic][up]
posted by alicesshoe at 11:38 PM on November 15, 2007


Once we stopped running, that guy taught me a respect for cops that I retain to this day.

I used to be involved in throwing an awful lot of "drag a bunch of big speakers out to the desert and play music all night" sorts of parties.

Naturally, people with badges came a few times.

Now, there were some people that were doing this, charging money, distributing fliers, and trying to make money. We were not those people. We sent some emails, never charged a dime (though we asked for donations in the morning), and were just there to have fun.

One of the times we did this, a sheriff and compatriot - the latter of which wielding a shotgun over his shoulder - showed up and walked up to the turntables. The DJ was quite occupied with what he was doing and didn't notice, so I had to walk over and stop the music.

I, being the owner of the sound system and the primary organizer, got to have the chat with the friendly officers. I explained that it was just a bunch of friends, that we had no fliers, and that there was no money involved.

The friendly gentleman with the shotgun said, quite loudly "alright, I want to hear some music". To which the DJ started a track and turned it up to about 1/3 the volume it had been.

This was met with a shout of "no, I said I want to HEAR SOME MUSIC".

Sadly the bureau of land management showed up much later and harassed the hell out of us with no such display of understanding
posted by flaterik at 12:08 AM on November 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


ODiV: reminds me of a time tripping with some pals on the beach. We're drinking water out of cups with a big jug that we brought with us. A cop wanders over looking for reports related to something else. She sees the cups and asks "What are you doing?" The sitter (who's sober) replies, "nothing illegal." The cop rightfully scrutinizes him, declares that she "has bigger fish to fry" and wanders back off.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 4:33 AM on November 16, 2007


hah, my younger brother's friends had it all worked out. They carried those hand-held police-radio scanners around with one another. Never, ever got caught. They were long gone by the time the cops got there.

The use of police broadcasts in furthering a crime is a crime itself.

That being said, underage drinking is usually a civil issue and therefore the aforementioned wouldn't apply...
posted by C17H19NO3 at 5:10 AM on November 16, 2007


First of all, I understand that teenagers will be teenagers.

However, underage drinking is dangerous, and does cause problems down the road. The reason the legal drinking age is 21 is not just an attemt to reduce alcohol-related teen traffic fatalities. Its also an attempt to get kids to experiment when they are older, to try to give the brain the best chance to develop properly.

Alcohol is still the leading cause of death among youth, and also is present in a significant percentage of sexual assaults and domestic violence incidents.

Some old statistics.

What we as law enforcement are seeing is an increase of teenage alcohol use and a general acceptance of teenage alcohol use among adults. The goal, like I said earlier is to attempt to prevent youths from drinking at youger ages like 10-15, and instead wait until they are in the 17+ age group before they experiment. What we are finding is alcohol has serious and long lasting effects on brain development.

There's plenty more for me to put out, but I am at work and don't have the time to put it here right now.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 6:00 AM on November 16, 2007


IT'S THE COPS! RUN!
posted by Big_B at 8:54 AM on November 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


A friend of mine went to school in Northfield, MN (St. Olaf), which is in the middle of nowhere and doesn't offer much in the way of anything to do. Every year they had a tradition of taking some kegs out onto the football field and having an illicit kegger. The second year my friend was there, this party was apparently so boring that the attendees called the cops on themselves just so they could run away.
posted by baphomet at 9:39 AM on November 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


The Alcohol Unit or other division receives information, either through a citizen complaint, a party buster hotline call or other means, that an underage drinking party is occurring.

party buster hotline?...ugh.

maybe my memory is fading but it seemed getting busted was part of the deal of 'hosting' a party. That's the price you pay for shitty judgment of telling too many people or letting too many in...plus it was kind of fun/dangerous to go through 'the bust'...days when facing the parents were scarier than facing the law apparently.
posted by greenskpr at 9:48 AM on November 16, 2007


However, underage drinking is dangerous, and does cause problems down the road.

You'll never stop kids drinking. But the "down the road" part is the only part that really matters.

Don't even try to get in to the house. Just announce that every automobile that pulls away from this residence will be pulled over and the driver tested for alcohol. With any luck some kids will stay over, others will pile into cars with sober drivers, and the rest will call for a ride home. The rest will get DUI
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:48 AM on November 16, 2007


The reason the legal drinking age is 21...[reasons]

Any reason that relies on the words "you can't" betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of how teenagers' brains function.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:53 AM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Strange how "we in the law enforcement community" always seem to see the problem as getting worse. Wonder if that's tied somehow to the need to justify those big-budget SWAT teams and shiny new tasers.

And do you really think that raising the drinking age changes the age of onset of alcohol experimentation? I have a hard time believing that to be true. Kids mirror what they see in their own homes, and they take their cues from their parents. That's where they learn to drink or not, not from some arbitrary statute.

alcohol has serious and long lasting effects on brain development.

Yeah, so does teaching "intelligent design". As a society, we seem dead-set on making sure most minds never develop past adolescence anyway, so that's a moot point.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:19 AM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


However, underage drinking is dangerous, and does cause problems down the road...Its [sic] also an attempt to get kids to experiment when they are older, to try to give the brain the best chance to develop properly.

Yeah -- that's why all of those European kids who start legally drinking at 16 y.o. (and in some cases younger) end-up to be brain-addled adults and dregs on society!
posted by ericb at 11:01 AM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Err -- *dregs of society.* And I haven't even had one drink today!
posted by ericb at 11:03 AM on November 16, 2007



Yeah, this business of alcohol effects on the teenage brain is overblown. 80% of teenagers drink before 18-- do 80% of us really have brain damage?

There is some rat research suggesting that drinking young might in itself increase predisposition for alcohol problems, but because most people do it and most don't become alcoholics, this doesn't really tell us much.

There *is* something different about people who start drinking heavily at 12 rather than 18, however-- they tend to be kids with problems, ie, children of alcoholics, abused kids, traumatized kids, kids with mental illness, kids without parents, etc. The problem there is not alcohol but what drives the kids to it. And it is this-- more than the fact of drinking at that age itself-- that probably accounts for most of the link between early drinking and alcoholism.

Basically, the vast majority of people with the predisposition to alcoholism or addiction will start using in their teen years-- so yes, it's true that after 21, it's rare for anyone who starts using to develop an alcohol or other drug problem. But that's not because of some brain-finishing magic, but because the impulsive and distressed people who are prone to alcoholism and addiction tend to seek it out early, while those without this predisposition are more likely to wait.

Also, being exposed to alcohol at a young age by family in the setting of meals is *protective* against drinking problems, not a risk factor.

Regarding teen drinking parties, it is far safer to have teens drink and parents watch and take the car keys than it is to try to stamp it out by banning this and creating a situation in which only irresponsible people will have teen drinking parties.

Current data does show that parents who throw drinking parties for teens are more likely to have teens who binge drink-- but it's hard to know if that's correlational or causal or if its a result of the fact that many of the people willing to do it when it's illegal tend to be alcoholics themselves.

And btw, Canada-- drinking age 19-- has the *same* rate of drunk driving as the U.S., so 21 isn't what's responsible for the decline that people say it is.
posted by Maias at 2:56 PM on November 16, 2007


“Stop glorifying it, stop putting it on the pedestal as the forbidden fruit and maybe your kids will stop giving a shit about it.”

Stop...marketing?
My friend, you are severly misinformed as to America, my friend.

I grew up with alcohol served at dinner (wine) and never thought of it the way some of my friends did. Got really really drunk once when I was young (because you don’t really know how to drink as a kid even if you’re not fixated on it), got the dry heaves, swore I’d never drink like that again, and I never have. The objective is to prevent DUIs and limit alcohol abuse and that won’t be done without some shift in how we fetishize the stuff.

When I was playing rugby we always practiced a host of patriotic songs just in case the cops came. The house had a big flag and we’d post it most nights. As soon as someone saw a cop we’d start up “GOD BLESS AMERICA! LAND THAT I LOVE! STAND BESIDE HER, AND GUIDE HER...oh, is there something we can help you with officer?”
And there we’d be in a nice triple row of uniformly filthy, scraped up, booted guys singing away blocking the keg which was spirited off somewhere while we demanded to know who the unpatriotic bastards were who called the police on our choir practice.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:30 PM on November 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ffom the wiki article, linked to by Ericb ...

Contrary to popular belief, since National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984, few states specifically prohibit minors' consumption of alcohol in private settings.


It seems as though quite a few of these cases might be morally sanctimonious and over-zealous law-enforcement officers enforcing a non-existent statute. What state do

My mother was fairly liberal about the consumption of alcohol by her teenage children, as a result of this our place became the place to hang out on Saturday nght. She monitored the behaviour of the attendees, and made sure that no one drove drunk.

Sunday morning's around our place there were often a couple of girls in the guest room, and more than once a grateful parent called to let my mom know that they appreciated her concern for the welfare of the kids.

Teenagers are going to experiment with alcohol, and setting a minimum age of 21 is just asinine. Thisn is well into college for many. It's not enforceable, creates disrespect for the law, and criminalizes a broad spectrum of the population.

Kind of like the marijuana laws, actually.

Some possible solutions here.

posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 3:41 PM on November 16, 2007


actually, it's not that the state's ban minors drinking in private, it's that many have passed laws criminalizing any adults who serve children other than their own in private.
posted by Maias at 6:16 PM on November 16, 2007


I had a nineteen-year-old American exchange student in one of my classes this semester. He and his friends went to the pub about half an hour after they landed in Australia.
posted by jacalata at 10:32 PM on November 16, 2007


Maias wrote: 80% of teenagers drink before 18-- do 80% of us really have brain damage?

50%
posted by Avenger at 10:59 PM on November 16, 2007


I used to give campus tours at UBC, and parents were always amazed that we had both a bar and a lounge in the student union building, and that it was perfectly possible to run into a prof while getting a beer in said lounge.

It always surprised me that there was so much consternation, but reading all these stories, I sort of see why.
posted by heeeraldo at 1:07 AM on November 17, 2007


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