Community Involvement key in Campaign to Combat Underage Drinking
Aug. 25, 1999 (Release 99-172)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News Contact: Rosalie Thornburgh, Chief
Bureau of Traffic Safety
Enforcement Agencies Across the State Appreciate Community
Involvement in Campaign to Combat Underage Drinking
TOPEKA - Law enforcement officials throughout Kansas are
responding to a growing number of citizens reports on underage
Since May, the Kansas Department of Transportation has been
working with law enforcement agencies to promote awareness of
problems associated with underage drinking and to encourage
people to call when they learn about a drinking party.
This initiative's theme is simple, yet powerful:
"Care about underage drinking. Call your local law
enforcement." The campaign's objective is to make the
state's roadways safer for all motorists by empowering
citizens to proactively discourage drinking and driving.
Many communities throughout Kansas are beginning to realize
the need to play a stronger role in the safety of their teenage
citizens. As parents, neighbors, friends and relatives embrace
the idea that calling their local law enforcement is an act of
caring, they are beginning to speak up.
The Butler County Sheriff's Department is handling between
10 and 15 reports of underage drinking per month, a slight
increase over previous years. The Kansas Highway Patrol, Shawnee
County Sheriff's Office and Topeka Police Department
consolidated dispatch center has recorded nearly 50 calls between
May and June.
"The Care/Call campaign has helped us communicate the
importance of community involvement," said Sheriff Glen
Kochanowski of Saline County. "The response to the
initiative has been very positive. People are actively alerting
our office when they hear about an underage drinking party - even
the schools have gotten involved."
According to Jim Conant, director of the Kansas Alcohol
Beverage Control, it is important for the community to take an
active role in combating underage drinking because many teenagers
don't realize the consequences of attending underage drinking
"Even if kids understand the serious dangers of drunk
driving and alcohol poisoning, they usually don't understand
this is a criminal offense that will follow them throughout their
lives," Conant said. "One bad decision is not worth a
lifetime of problems."
But the purpose of the Care/Call campaign is not punishment.
It is education.
"The Care/Call campaign is starting to build awareness
across the state, and that's our main goal," said E.
Dean Carlson, Secretary of KDOT. "We need people to
understand underage drinking is not simply a matter of harmless
fun or kids just being kids."
Carlson said the underage drinking initiative is one of many
tools local law enforcement agencies can employ to combat
underage drinking. The public awareness it raises gives
communities a better opportunity to keep their children safe.
No matter how an underage drinking party ends up, children
lose. They face the danger of serious car crashes, alcohol
poisoning and a lifetime of lost employment opportunities. But
these negative outcomes can be avoided with the help of the
One positive action - a phone call - can help keep our kids
safe. And that's what KDOT and local law enforcement
officials are counting on as the Care/Call campaign
For more information about the program please
contact the KDOT Bureau of Traffic Safety at 785-296-3756 or
Corporate Communications Group at 913-451-2990.