The Watertown Police Department statistics indicate a rise in the number of underage consumption of alcohol arrests in 2017 among 18-21 year-olds. Arrests are at a ten-year high and climbing. The numbers indicate a 57% increase since 2014. Underage parties are becoming larger and more frequent. Along with the increased alcohol use, comes the problems associated with it such as, alcohol poisoning, sexual assaults, DUI crashes, illegal drug use, and the list goes on. With the holidays approaching the community is working together to reduce this problem.

A meeting was held at the Police Department involving members of many different organizations. Included were; Lake Area Technical Institute, Watertown School District Administration, Human Service Agency Administration, Watertown Healthy Youth, Department of Corrections, Codington County Court Services, Codington County Sheriff’s Office, and the Watertown Police Department. The Codington County State’s Attorney, Third Circuit Judge, and Magistrate Judge were unavailable but are involved.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and examine reasons for the increase and to strategize ways to reduce the problem by keeping alcohol out of the hands of people under 21. This meeting was a great example of the community coming together to address a community issue.

The meeting was the first of many to develop an effective campaign that will empower our young adults to make healthy decisions that do not involve alcohol consumption.

Assistant Chief Tim Toomey talked with us earlier today.