Holiday Alcohol Task Force Has Begun; Always Choose A Sober Ride

With the holidays approaching, there will be an increase in social events and parties that involve the consumption of alcohol.  The Montgomery County Police Alcohol Holiday Task Force, comprised of officers from the Alcohol Initiatives Section and patrol officers from the six police districts, as well as officers from the Gaithersburg Police Department, the Maryland National Capital Park Police Department (Montgomery County Division), the Takoma Park Police Department, troopers from Maryland State Police, and sheriff deputies from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office will be devoting their full time and attention to detecting alcohol-related offenses this holiday season.

This task force began on November 15 and will continue through January 6, 2018.  During the first nights of this year’s enforcement (November 16, 17, and 18), task force officers arrested 19 people for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

The task force will focus on enforcement of offenses to include:

  • Enforcement of traffic laws in areas known for a high number of alcohol-related collisions with the goal of getting drunk or drug-impaired drivers off the road.
  • Compliance checks of businesses who hold alcohol licenses by using underage volunteers to attempt to purchase alcohol at establishments (ensuring that shopkeepers are careful not to sell alcohol to minors).
  • Responding to calls for underage drinking parties.  All attendees are screened for alcohol usage, and those who are under age 21 are issued citations. Every person is then ensured a safe ride home.  Parents of juveniles are notified to come and get them. Any parent or other adult who hosts can be held liable and can be issued a citation.  An adult can be held criminally liable if he/she provides alcohol to an individual under 21 years and he/she knew or reasonably should have known the individual would operate a motor vehicle and did operate the vehicle under the influence of alcohol and caused serious injury or death (Alex and Calvin’s Law).
  • Sobriety checkpoints: The location of the checkpoints is based on collision and traffic data focusing on areas that drivers are most at risk for encountering impaired drivers. NOTE:   The Holiday Alcohol Task Force will be conducting a sobriety checkpoint tonight, November 22, 2017.
  • Responding to calls for service regarding intoxicated persons.

The Montgomery County Police Department wants to remind residents that they can assist in combating alcohol-related crime and collisions this holiday season:

If you plan on drinking alcohol this holiday season, include a sober driver in your plans:

  • If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving. Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins.
  • When you know you’ll be drinking, leave your keys at home or give them to someone else.
  • If you have been drinking, do not drive—even a short distance. Call a taxi, Uber, phone a sober friend or family member, use public transportation or call Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s SoberRide at 1-800-200-TAXI ( information regarding specific dates of this year’s program is forthcoming).

If you believe you are observing a driver impaired by alcohol or drugs:

  • Call 911.  If possible, and without putting yourself in danger, safely obtain the license plate of the vehicle, the direction of travel of the vehicle, and a description of the vehicle (make, model, color).

If you have information on establishments that are selling alcohol to youth under 21 or over serving patrons:

  • If it is occurring at the present time, you can call the police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000.
  • If you believe it is an ongoing issue, you can call Crime Solvers toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) or leave a Crime Solvers tip here. You can remain anonymous. Please provide as much information as possible.  Tips will be forwarded to the Alcohol Initiatives Section.

If you have information on an underage drinking party:

  • If it is occurring at the present time, you can call the police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000.

Efforts made by the police and the public will help make this holiday season safer.

NOTE TO MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA:

Please see advisory regarding an opportunity to learn more about the task force efforts tonight, Wednesday, November 22.  Please call the Public Information Office at 240-773-5030, option 4, to RSVP to tonight’s opportunity.

RLI