Minors traveling to bush parties with alcohol in their possession will be caught and ticketed, due to a community project started by a new RCMP officer at Yorkton's rural detachment.
Constable Jillian Boutilier recently put into operation her CAPRA project (Clients Acquire and Analyze Partnerships Response Assessment). The project was decided based on the specific needs of our area.
"It's been known that alcohol use is an issue in this area," said CST. Boutilier. Her project is a zero-tolerance policy for minors breaking the law.
CST. Boutilier held her first enforcement blitz by stopping vehicles on their way to a property where she knew a bush party was to be held.
"You can tell [the location] because there's a lot of youth heading in the same direction," she explained.
During the first check stop, 15 cars were stopped, six of which confirmed to be attending the bush party. As a result of the vehicle checks, RCMP issued several fines, including speeding and seat belt violations. There were also two counts of minors in possession of alcohol.
RCMP report that in the past two years, Yorkton has seen 75 youths charged regarding alcohol. "We expect that number to go up with this project," said CST. Boutilier. Hopefully, the increased ticketing will result in fewer minors breaking the law in the first place.
"If they get a few tickets, they need to pay them somehow." CST. Boutilier noted that some of the minors she pulled over were too young to have a job to pay the tickets.
The rural RCMP have started a youth initiative, dedicating more resources for the 2010 year on account of increased issues with substance abuse and sexual assault complaints regarding minors.
"I don't think there's been a pro-active approach," said CST. Boutilier. "Instead of stopping vehicles coming back from a bush party, we want to stop it before it starts."
Boutilier, who moved to Saskatchewan from Nova Scotia, said bush parties were a new concept to her.
"I was surprised at first there were so many people gathered in one place, consuming alcohol . . . It's not safe."
She sees a major problem in that bush parties not taken seriously by many parents and adults."They seem to think it's okay because they had it in the past. The issue here is there's a lot more coming out of bush parties nowadays."
Those issues arising from bush parties are not just minors getting tipsy-drug abuse, binge drinking, assault and collisions resulting in death are more common, say RCMP.
"When you get a sexual assault complaint because a kid went to a party and drank too much, I don't see where the fun is in that."
Also part of CST. Boutilier's community project is education. She added that parents who allow youth to use their property for bush parties with alcohol are still breaking the law.
"It's not a legal place of consumption . . . anyone who provides a minor with alcohol is subject to a fine."