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Law enforcement on high alert for underage drinking ahead of graduation season

"We want to make graduation 2023 the safest that we can in the streets and within the community of Odessa, Texas."

ODESSA, Texas — Over the next couple of weeks we will see students in our community transition into graduates. This is an exciting time for so many, but celebrations can turn into trouble, or even tragedy.

On Wednesday, Odessa Mayor Javier Joven, along with OPD and other law enforcement agencies gathered to talk about the importance of staying safe and smart for graduation season.

"We want to make graduation 2023 the safest that we can in the streets and within the community of Odessa, Texas," said Joven. 

Which is why city leaders and departments want to stress the importance of celebrating safely.

"Be responsible, be an adult, be a parent, and please, this is a great time to communicate rules within your family that underage drinking is not allowable, and also it is against the law," said Joven.

Underage drinking can also lead to arrests, charges and life-altering mistakes.

"The consequences can be severe depending on what happens during the course of the evening, from anywhere from a minor in possession ticket, minor consuming ticket, up to criminal charges for manslaughter, for a DWI," said Ector County ISD Police Chief Jeff Daniels.

Adults can even be charged for hosting parties with underage drinking.

"The fines for that social hosting ordinance are $250 to up to $2,000, so I mean, that is a significant fine for most people, and that's if you host that party," said Odessa Police Chief Mike Gerke.

So it's important to start a conversation with your kids about drinking, drugs and the consequences.

"I think its the honesty and not getting upset," said Program Director with the Permian Basin Regional Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Sara Hinshaw. "Ask them questions, be frank about it, and just open conversation, if you're open and honest with your children, hopefully they will come back and be open and honest with you."

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