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Bethesda Police Commander Sends Underage Drinking Warning to Residents

Montgomery county policeMontgomery County Police Captain David Falcinelli, commander of the 2nd District, says that the Bethesda area has experienced an increase in underage drinking incidents over the last few months.

Captain Falcinelli sent an email alert on Tuesday to residents through Montgomery County’s Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center. He warns community members about the consequences of hosting underage drinking parties; “if you host a party where underage people are consuming alcohol, we will work exhaustively to ensure that you are charged $2500 per person under 21 found to be consuming alcohol at your party. If convicted, you will also have a criminal record,” Captain Falcinelli wrote.

You can read the email in its entirety below.

“Dear Residents of the 2nd District:

http://patch.com/maryland/rockville/teen-indicted-driving-deaths-wootton-high-students-0

“The above link is an article on the indictment of the young driver involved in the crash that led to the death of two Wooton High School students back in June, 2015. I encourage you to read the article and the accompanying links about some steps that were taken by various members of the community after this very tragic crash. One of our officers recently lost his life to a drunk driver, a driver that had a history of alcohol related issues dating back several years. I am asking for your help to avoid any more tragedies.

“In the last several months, the 2nd District has had its share of underage parties, in addition to receiving calls from various high schools about students showing up at school events intoxicated. Fortunately, no one died as a result of any of those events. The most significant event occurred in mid-January where students from American University had a party at a house in Bethesda, where 110 students were cited for possession of alcohol by a minor. There was also an assault on an officer, as well as a street robbery, both related to young people being intoxicated from this party. Charges for the hosts of this event are still in process, and American University is taking appropriate administrative sanctions against students involved in this event. These parties take multiple officers off the street for hours at a time. This is time that is no longer available to patrol your neighborhoods.

“As someone who has worked with various alcohol issues over the years, I can tell you that parties of today are much different than parties of yesteryear. Alcohol concentration levels are much higher. It is not unusual for a young person to be stopped in possession of a 30 pack, and state that the beer is just for him, or he and a friend. The number of sexual assaults and other crimes that occur, many of which go unreported, are much more prevalent. With the decriminalization of less than 10g of marijuana in MD, more young people are smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol. As many of you may know, marijuana helps to ease the feeling of nausea which allows young people to drink even greater quantities before vomiting. This contributes to alcohol poisoning and death. Drunk driving is only one of the concerns that needs to addressed as a result of these parties. Taking the keys and having the kids spend the night does not always work!

“Many parents choose to bury their heads in the sand and pretend that their kids are not drinking. Some provide proper guidance on how a son or daughter should handle these incidents. Most alarming is that several parents will actually host these events and be uncooperative with the police upon our arrival at the house. While I am not in the position to judge your decisions as parents, I do feel it is important to explain the law and the consequences that can occur for failing to follow it. Attached is a flyer on Adult Host Responsibility. In summary, if you host a party where underage people are consuming alcohol, we will work exhaustively to ensure that you are charged $2500 per person under 21 found to be consuming alcohol at your party. If convicted, you will also have a criminal record. Please be a responsible parent – teach your kids to obey the laws and obey them yourself. If you feel the need to have an alcohol beverage with your son or daughter, the law in MD does allow for you to drink an alcoholic beverage in your house with your child. Alcohol and young people in unsupervised settings are a disaster waiting to happen. Please help us prevent another child from dying.

“Sincerely,

Captain David Falcinelli
Commander – 2nd District”

On Wednesday, Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger testified in Annapolis, urging for tougher DUI laws.

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