Breck underage drinkers won’t be punished for calling police
BRECKENRIDGE – In February, Breckenridge police cited eight Summit High School students for underage drinking after one of them called police over concern for a friend.The parents were out of town. The caller to 911 said a male teen was passed out on the front patio and had been throwing up blood. Police and an ambulance arrived, and the man was taken to the hospital. Officers ticketed all the teens for underage consumption.If a situation like this were to occur again in Breckenridge, the teen who called police likely wouldn’t be penalized for drinking, said police chief Rick Holman.The reason?The Breckenridge Town Council added a clause to its code on Tuesday granting immunity to an underage person who calls 911 to report that another underage person is in need of medical assistance due to alcohol consumption.The person who calls 911, and, if applicable, one or two other people who acted in concert with the caller, would need to provide their names to the 911 dispatcher.The update is meant to mirror a change made at the state level by the legislature last year, Holman said.”We’re concerned about the health and safety of our youth. We know that we’re – in alcohol consumption – we’re above average,” Holman said.The hope is alcohol-related tragedies will be prevented if kids know they can call police without being scared off by the potential consequences of doing so, he said.The caller has to be the first person to make the 911 report and must stay on the scene with the person in need of medical care until emergency personnel arrive, the ordinance said.Holman said he doesn’t want the ordinance to send a mixed message that police will tolerate underage drinking. Rather, police want kids to know that in a worst-case scenario, the priority should be getting someone help, not worrying about getting a ticket.Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13625, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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