Local police officers patrolling for underage drinking parties visited nearly 30 parties from Thursday through Saturday, as teenagers celebrated their graduation during the holiday weekend.
But there were relatively few arrests — something police described as a successful result to an operation seeking to deter dangerous behavior.
In the city limits, Odessa police reported responding to the following calls during Operation Graduation: Safe Night:
- 29 reports of loud parties or loud music.
- Six “juvenile problem” calls.
- Two minor in possession cases, three minor consuming alcohol citations, seven curfew violations and seven driving while intoxicated arrests.
“The purpose wasn’t to issue as many citations or make as many arrests as we could,” OPD spokesman Cpl. Steve LeSueur said. “The purpose was for everybody to be safe. We really think the advertising, that really helped.”
In addition to the Odessa Police Department, police agencies participating in the yearly operation include the Ector County Sheriff’s Office, the Ector County Hospital District, the University of Texas of the Permian Basin and the Ector County Independent School District.
In the county, from Thursday through Sunday, the sheriff’s office reported writing eight minor in possession tickets and one furnishing alcohol to a minor ticket. Deputies also reported investigating four noise complaints and two complaints about juveniles.
Odessa police also announced plans to enforce a city ordinance passed last year that enabled officers to issue civil citations if they determine that the adults knowingly allow minors to drink.
LeSueur said officers did not write any tickets under the new social host ordinance but believed it worked as a deterrent.
The Permian Basin Regional Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse also participated in a media campaign warning of the operation.
“Just the word of mouth helped keep a lot of parties from beginning,” ECISD Lt. Jeff Daniels said.