On Tuesday, September 4, East Texas Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (ETCADA) and the Harrison County Community Coalition organized and hosted a Controlled Party Dispersal Training for local Law Enforcement in Harrison County. ETCADA partnered with the Waskom Police Department, Texans Standing Tall, and the San Antonio Vice Unit who provided the classroom and demonstrative training for the officers in attendance. Officers spent two hours in classroom training and two hours practicing different scenarios of house parties and how they should respond to different situations. The training was beneficial to officers as it applied to their necessary TCOLE hours and allowed officers to gain more knowledge of how to maintain control and follow proper procedures when responding to a party where minors are in possession of and consuming alcohol.
Waskom High School partnered with ETCADA by providing leaders from the Student Council to be actors in the hands-on demonstration portion of the training. Students were also able to learn about the possible consequences of what would happen if they were at a party where alcohol was being served to minors. Students learned the best preventative measures to take to avoid being involved in an underage drinking situation. Local businesses also partnered with ETCADA for the training; Cajun Tex, Bodacious, and Jalapeno Tree in Marshall as well as Victor’s Hangout in Waskom all helped by donating lunch for the students and officers.
ETCADA will continue to partner with Texans Standing Tall in the coming months to provide the same training in Henderson and Panola County.
Here is the story that ran in the Marshall Messenger on Wednesday September 5, 2018
The first responders had some help from Waskom High School Student Council juniors and seniors as the students acted out the part of teen drinkers at a high school party while the police carried out a “raid,” at Waskom Fire Station.
The specialized Controlled Party Dispersal Training was organized by Texans Standing Tall, a state-wide coalition aimed to prevent teen drinking and drug use, along with Harrison County Coalition of the East Texas Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (ETCADA), retired Texas Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (TABC) Chief Joel Moreno and was funded by a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation.
The training started with teaching the officers the proper procedures and techniques to safely control the breakup of parties where underage youth are drinking alcohol. The training also included ways for officers to discourage future underage drinking and educate the community on the dangers of youth alcohol use.
TST, Moreno and San Antonio PD Vice Unit Detective Michael Castano also explained to the high schoolers and the local police the new Social Host Ordinance that has been adopted by four Texas cities so far, including San Antonio. The ordinance holds responsible, legally, any adults responsible for hosting or contributing to youth drinking.
Waskom Police Chief Monty Meisenheimer said Tuesday’s training was extremely helpful and he hopes to take a proposal to the Waskom mayor and city council, asking them to adopt the Social Host Ordinance.
“This training was very applicable and relevant, with school starting back recently, and we are thrilled to have them here,” Meisenheimer said. “I think this creates better understanding on both sides and I think the Social Host Ordinance would be a great thing for Waskom.”
ETCADA Program Director Harold Womble said the groups hope to take this training to more East Texas cities soon including Carthage and Athens.
“Controlled Party Dispersal Training is an effective strategy that goes beyond breaking up parties,” TST Strategy Specialist Anne-Shirley Schreiner said. “The training is unique in its interactive, hands-on approach that gives coalitions, organizations, and law enforcement agencies an opportunity to work together to address underage alcohol use and keep young people safe.”