Sheriff’s Office to conduct shoulder-tap program |

Sheriff’s Office to conduct shoulder-tap program

The Summit County Sheriff’s Office is issuing a warning to everyone who is old enough to purchase alcohol: don’t buy it for anyone underage.

Starting this month, the Sheriff’s Office plans to execute a shoulder-tap campaign outside of establishments that sell alcohol in Summit County. The program will target adults who buy alcohol for someone who is not at least 21 years old. Detective Kacey Bates said the program’s intent is to curtail underage drinking and access to alcohol by minors.

"What we are finding is that the youth are increasingly asking adults to buy alcohol for them and so part of this is just letting people know that we are out there looking for it and trying to prevent it before it happens," Bates said.

According to the results of the 2015 Student Health and Risk Prevention survey, 33 percent of students in Summit County who admitted to drinking said they gave someone money to purchase alcohol for them. In Park City, 40 percent of students said they received their alcohol from someone 21 or older.

Throughout the summer, underage youth will be asking adults to purchase alcohol for them. If the adult agrees, they will be arrested by law enforcement officials, Bates said.

"We want people to know what is happening and we don’t want people to sell alcohol to our minors. The purpose of this is to educate and prevent these things," Bates said. "When we provide alcohol to minors we are putting a lot of people in danger."

Kathy Day, a prevention specialist with Valley Mental Health, said the shoulder-tap program is "just another tool the community has."

"It takes a group effort to deal with these kinds of problems and law enforcement play a huge role in it with this," Day said. "This is a huge piece that can play into the overall plan of reducing these instances.

"There is research that the alcohol compliance checks and shoulder taps reduce underage drinking," she said.

Furnishing alcohol to a minor is punishable upon conviction by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.