ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Police Department is bringing back an operation proven to be very successful in the past: the party patrol. It’s a designated group of officers whose job is to bust underage drinking parties or catch adults in the act serving alcohol to minors.
“Party Patrol is out there, they’re not just out there to cite you and do the enforcement, a lot of it is education,” APD Commander Donovan Rivera said.
The department is bringing back the operation that hasn’t been around for at least the last six years “It’s really to help curb underage drinking,” the commander said.
But it’s no party for those they bust. During summer months, every Friday and Saturday, APD designates around six officers who respond to house party disturbance calls.
“We all know kids are out of school. It’s nice out, and also parents might go out of town and leave their house to their teenage kids,” Commander Rivera said.
Rivera said he remembers working the operations back in the early 2000s. In part, due to a dwindling number of officers on the streets, over the years APD stopped applying for the county grant. But now that the number of officers is climbing, the department can continue using that money because the commander said these operations also help curb DWI.
“Party patrol plays a vital role in that because most kids, teenagers are driving, so we’re trying to curb a lot of the drunk driving as well.”
Part of the program also sends underage decoys into restaurants and gas stations that sell booze.
“As a customer is walking in, they’ll ask that customer to buy them beer and if they do, when they exit, and handoff beer to that minor, we’ll come in, in an undercover capacity,” Rivera said.
But what APD really wants is for parents and their kids to know one thing: “It’s important to get the message out there that law enforcement is out there for underage drinking, and we’re going to find out especially if you’re at a house party.”
After bringing back the operation last summer, APD responded to 49 party calls, which ended in a handful of arrests and citations.