The El Dorado Police Department has begun implementing some new technology and methods in cracking down on underage drinking.


The El Dorado Police Department has begun implementing some new technology and methods in cracking down on underage drinking.

Those efforts have been paying off, with more tickets being written to youth. There were 23 tickets written at one party recently.

“So if you are not old enough to drink in El Dorado, we would highly encourage you not to partake in that activity,” said City Manager Herb Llewellyn in a report to the El Dorado City Commission.

“The more you do it, the greater the propensity we’re going to catch you. We’re focusing more attention on it and we’re revising our techniques.”

The police department has been working on changing their response techniques since mid-summer.

“We are looking at party houses where we get a lot of calls,” said Police Chief Tom Boren. “In the past we had ineffective tools.”

Because of old technology, their focus used to devolve into the aftermath of underage drinking, such as driving under the influence charge.

Boren pointed out they don’t go around looking for parties, but they do get calls when they are out of control, usually for noise complaints, parking and traffic issues, broken glass, trash and more.

There also are associated incidents of batteries, assaults, sexual assault, DUI, property damage, etc.

Looking at trends in El Dorado, there were 70 cases in 2006, 50 in 2007 and 42 in 2008. Already this year, they have had more than 150 cases with their new procedures.

“We can see our past efforts haven’t been as effective,” Boren said.

Some of the changes include portable breath analyzers, recorders and portable laptops, which allows them to barcode evidence at the scene.

When picked up, underage drinkers are taken to the police department, from which they are released to their parents or a guardian. Adults are cited and released.

“This lets us process them on scene so we don’t lose kids in the gathering up,” Boren said.
They also can make better cases against the hosts of parties.

They also are looking at better accountability to the property owners, who often live out of town.
“Sometimes the folks had no idea they had an issue,” Boren said of rental houses.

“I think the numbers speak for themselves. We just want to make sure the sanctity of peoples homes are not being violated by the poor choices of someone else.”