Tempe police launch distracted driving campaign, party patrol to keep McClintock safe

Katelynn Showers, Co-Editor in Chief

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McClintock school resource officer Detective Natalie Barela works with the Drug and Alcohol Prevention team in order to keep McClintock safe.

In conjunction with McClintock’s High School Health and Wellness Coach Ciera Rockliffe, Barela has worked on forming groups to help students dealing with substance abuse.

The program looks at ways to combat underage drinking and substance abuse. These group are open to all students and meet every Thursday at lunch.

Tempe Police rolls out Distracted Driving campaign

The second initiative that has been introduced at the city level is the Dangers of Distracted Driving. According to recent driving studies, 10 percent of fatal crashes involve distracted driving. September is Districted Driving Awareness month.

“The campaign to combat distracted driving is ‘It can wait’,” Barela said.

This campaign highlights the dangers of distracted driving, not just by cell phone use, but also by eating or having multiple people in the car. Distracted driving is a citable offense.

In Tempe, distracted driving is not a primary violation, but a secondary violation. Distracted driving is a civil offense, the first offense being $100, second $250 and third $500.

“We will be out there writing tickets and making arrests. We just want our students and kids to be safe,” Barela said.

Police patrol Tempe streets during Friday Night Lights

Party Patrol takes place every Friday night in Tempe, specifically in areas near home football games.

“One thing that I would really like to highlight, in conjunction with the Drug and Alcohol Prevention and with the Tempe Police, is Party Patrol,” Barela said.

Party Patrol is made up of Tempe police officers in an off-duty, auxiliary position. The program is funded through a grant from Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith, and Family.

“We just want our students and kids to be safe.””

— Detective Natalie Barela, McClintock SRO

“We are trying to educate students of the dangers of underage drinking and hopefully prevent any students involved in underage drinking for first and foremost their health and safety,” Barela said.

Minors can face serious consequences for underage drinking, including expensive fines or getting their driver’s license suspended.

Arizona state law states anyone found hosting a party where minors are consuming alcohol can also face consequences, and can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. A person could be fines up to $2,500 or face jail time.

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