As students prepare to enjoy spring break vacations, the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office announced an annual, joint effort between several law enforcement agencies to crack down on underage drinking.
The Oklahoma County Metro Alcohol Task Force (OCMATF) is made up of the sheriff's office and police departments from Bethany, Forest Park and Midwest City. The agencies will work together to make sure liquor stores, convenience stores and bars are checking identification. Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel also says people who host private parties should make sure all drinkers are of legal age.
"We are also warning social hosts," said Whetsel. "If we find adults hosting parties for kids you will be held accountable under the law as well."
Whetsel said underage drinking is a serious problem across the state. Oklahoma ranks seventh in the national for alcohol consumed by minors. In 2011, 36 underage and drunken drivers were killed or incapacitated in Oklahoma. Unfortunately, a lot of the trouble happens during spring break.
"Last year we interrupted a party of 200 kids and found one who was passed outside in a ditch and likely would have died with freezing temperatures," Traffic safety supervisor Lt. Dan Stow said.
OCMATF was created three years ago.