Havre Daily News
Havre Mayor Bob Rice has asked Police Chief Mike Barthel to review the city's zero-tolerance underage drinking policy to see if the department should change its stance to reflect the policy enforced by the Great Falls Police Department.
Barthel said anyone under the age of 21 found at a party where alcohol his present is ticketed for minor in possession of an intoxicant. He also said the city prosecutor's opinion is that if a person is around alcohol, they are in control of it and therefore in possession of it, even if they haven't had anything to drink.
At a town hall meeting on underage drinking hosted by the Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Line and the HELP Committee on April 26, Great Falls police officer Steve Pre'tat said officers there only issue tickets to those who test positive for alcohol in their blood. The officers then call the kids' parents to come and pick them up. Those who have tested negative are allowed to drive home.
Barthel said he has researched a grant proposal written for the Great Falls department, which received a state Board of Crime Control grant to use for training and equipment to use in underage drinking prevention.
At the forum, one Great Falls officer said Havre could use the grant proposal.
The document, Barthel said, is written too specifically for Havre police to use. Furthermore, implementing the grant would stretch Havre police too thin, he said.
“I just don't have the personnel for it,” Barthel said.