MUSKEGON – The Muskegon area community is raising its game in the fight to reduce underage drinking by empowering members of the community to speak up anonymously.
The “Party Patrol” program kicked off with banners carrying a simple message at high school football games this past Friday: If you know of underage alcohol consumption, call the authorities. The banners will be coupled with public service announcements and will be displayed at Friday’s football games and all Muskegon County games throughout the season.
“Muskegon County has always tackled our challenges as a community, and this effort is another way we can reduce illegal underage drinking,” said Laura Fitzpatrick of the Health Project's Muskegon Alcohol Liability Initiative, a diverse countywide partnership of health professionals, businesses, law enforcement leaders, and other stakeholders aiming to reduce underage drinking. “If anyone knows of minors drinking alcohol, they can let the authorities know anonymously. Party Patrol is a way to both empower everyone in our community to help be part of the solution and prevent the kinds of tragedies we hear about all too often when minors consume alcohol.”
The banners, which are slated to be prominently displayed at all Muskegon County high school football games this season, read: “Stop underage drinking. Be the solution. Submit an anonymous tip.” People who submit credible tips will get rewards. To report underage drinking:
Call: 231-72-CRIME (231-722-7463)
Text: MKGTIP to 274637
The program is being implemented by Muskegon’s Silent Observer Program in partnership with ALI and the Muskegon Chamber of Commerce, which manages the Silent Observer program in Muskegon County. Tom Schultz, General Manager of Tyler Sales Company, Inc., a member of the Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors, is chairman of the Silent Observer committee and also a long-standing member of ALI. Tyler Sales is also printing the banners which will be used throughout the county, as well as providing other support.
“Our company and our employees have deep roots in the Muskegon and Lakeshore areas, and all of us are 100-percent committed to making sure that only adults consume alcohol, not minors” said Jim Tyler, CEO of Tyler Sales. “I’m proud that our community continues to find innovative ways to bring people together and find solutions. Silent Observer’s Party Patrol program is another way for all of us to work together to keep our community safer.
” Data shows that underage drinking remains an issue in Muskegon County, according to the Youth Behavior Study for Muskegon County. The study shows that 44 percent of Muskegon County high schoolers have consumed alcohol, and 12.5 percent of all area high schoolers had their first drink before 13 years old, according to 2012 statistics. At the same time, Muskegon County continues to make progress to reduce underage drinking, including seeing a 38-percent drop in recent alcohol use and a 47- percent decrease in binge drinking by youth between 2008 and 2014, according to data by ALI.
For more information: www.silentobservermuskegoncom