Lincoln police to start anti-teen drinking patrols this summer

Posted June 15, 2012, at 9:33 p.m.

LINCOLN, Maine — Police will use a $1,500 grant to pay for extra-duty patrols to stop underage drinking incidents like one Reserve Officer Roy Bickford found in Prince Thomas Park earlier this week, Police Chief William Lawrence said Friday.

Bickford was on patrol at about 6:30 p.m. Sunday when he said he found a juvenile boy in a car parked at Prince Thomas who had passed out from overconsumption of alcohol. Three others also were there drinking, Lawrence said.

Neil May, 18, and Brandon Briggs, both of Lincoln, were issued summonses for furnishing liquor to minors, Lawrence said. Both are due in District Court in Lincoln on July 17.

The minor who had lost consciousness was taken by Penobscot Valley Hospital ambulance to PVH for treatment. Another minor was there drinking but didn’t require treatment, Lawrence said.

Aside from Sunday’s incident and an incident involving 28 Bangor High School students last December, Lincoln hasn’t had much of a problem with underage drinking during Lawrence’s one year and two month tenure as chief, he said.

“With the help of this Sprint for Life grant we are going to see if there is a problem here and attack it if there is,” Lawrence said Friday.

The Sprint for Life grant will fund four-hour shifts on staggered weekends over the summer in which officers will target Prince Thomas, Veterans Square off Main Street and other areas where teens congregate, Lawrence said.

Police patrols in those areas last summer helped curtail problems and will hopefully have the same impact this year, Lawrence said.

In the December incident, 31 students, all ages 15 and 16, were issued summonses for illegal possession of alcohol and one was charged with illegal possession of marijuana in connection with what police called an overnight drinking party at a camp on McGregor Road in Lincoln.

Given the students’ circumstances ― exposure to single-digit temperatures, heavy intoxication and sleepiness from being awake most of the night ― responding Officers Jacob Ferland, Bickford and state police Trooper Thomas Fiske immediately called Penobscot Valley Ambulance Service and had the teens examined for alcohol poisoning and hypothermia, police said.

The officers also were worried that some students might have frozen to death in those conditions, Lawrence said at the time.

Bangor High officials issued two-week suspensions from extracurricular activities to 28 of the 31 students. The others did not face disciplinary action because they did not participate in extra- or co-curricular activities.

School officials typically don’t hold students accountable for activities outside school or school-sanctioned activities, but student-athletes and participants in any other co- or extracurricular activities can face disciplinary action because those activities are considered a privilege, school officials said.

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