Parents deny police access to residence

Donelle Pardee Whiting

At the recent Teen Initiative Town Hall meeting, Washington Police Chief Jim Kuchenbecker spoke of encouraging the community in taking an active role in preventing underage drinking.

Kuchenbecker said some parents allow underage drinking in their homes with the belief that teens will do it anyway.

So, they become the social host and provide a place, Kuchenbecker said, adding that the adults believe they are watching the teens.

However, he said, unless they are being monitored, there is the question of how they will get home.

“It is inexcusable to allow minors to drink. It not only creates health concerns and life-threatening circumstances, but it is also against the law,” Kuchenbecker added.

Kuchenbecker related a March 9 instance in which Washington police received notification from the underage drinking hotline that there was an underage drinking party.

When police arrived, they were unable to make any arrests because the homeowner denied them entry.

According to the police report, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, the responding officer observed four vehicles in the driveway and four more on the street.

In addition, there was a large pile of shoes. The officer did not see anyone through the window.

After ringing the doorbell and knocking, a male subject answered the door. The officer reported he could smell alcohol both around the subject and from his breath.

The officer said he needed to talk to the subject’s 18-year-old friends to determine if there was an underage drinking party.

According to reports, the subject refused entry, started yelling that it was not a party and that he was going to get his dad.

After heated words with the residents of the house, an older man slammed the door in the officer’s face.

While the first officer was at the front door, another officer went around back.

According to the report, he observed four people walk into the northwest room of the residence and turn off the light.

The officer also reported that when he took a few steps toward the house, he heard multiple people make the “shhh” sound.

He then heard the yelling from the front of the house. He went around front and observed the older subject yelling “incoherently” at the first officer.

The subject then yelled for the officer to “get the hell out of here,” according to the incident report.

Kuchenbecker said no arrests were made because there was no evidence that there were non-resident underage drinkers present at the house.

Kuchenbecker said the homeowner’s behavior was unacceptable and only perpetuates the problem of underage drinking.

This is also not an isolated incident, Kuchenbecker said, adding that parents who allow underage drinking in their house are not helping teens.

He added he encourages residents to continue to report underage drinking because it could save lives.

Illinois State Trooper Tony Halsey said after the recent arrests for underage drinking, that it is because of Washington residents’ proactive stance on the issue that they were able to prevent drunk driving accidents as a result of the party.

To report underage drinking, call 1-866-479-2857, or visit www.drunkstopper.com.