Teens drunk at party busted by ZAP

The Wed. Nlfd News had this editorial, Don’t forget that alcohol is a drug, too, which referenced last weekend’s story, Teens arrested at party:

Northfield Police charged 18 area teens with underage consumption of alcohol last week at a party attended by almost two dozen young people. Northfield Police Captain Roger Schroeder said police were called to the residence at 1817 Washington St. South around 11 p.m. last Saturday to investigate complaints of a loud party where underage drinking was possibly occurring… When police got there, they knocked on the door, but no one answered, Schroeder said. Officers then obtained a search warrant and contacted officers with ZAP, Rice County’s Zero Alcohol Providers unit. ZAP, a coordinated effort of Rice County law enforcement agencies, is designed to reduce underage drinking. When a law enforcement agency suspects underage drinking, they can use ZAP to call upon other county law enforcement agencies for assistance.

teen-drunk.jpgThe newspaper included the names and ages of the teens arrested (those 18 and older) but only the address of the house, not the owner, easily found via a search of the Rice County property database. (Photo is from a medical website. I use it here for dramatic effect since, according to the paper, “One teen, who was ill, was treated by EMTs at the scene and released.”)

I talked with a dad of one of the teens arrested. He said the kids didn’t answer the door because they assumed the cops wouldn’t take the time to get a search warrant from a judge at that late hour. One of our Rice County judges got woken up, signed the warrant, and the ZAP team responded, breaking down the door to gain entry. The dad I talked to didn’t know any details about the homeowner but had heard that teen who lived at the house was not there for much of the party.

This is the second ZAP raid that I know of. The other happened in January in Lonsdale. See this Nfld News article: Bust leads to 15 underage drinking citations.

ZAP appears to be an innovative and effective program. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any local web site that has information about it that’s easily linked to: Not the Rice County Sheriff, not the Northfield Healthy Community Initiative (HCI), not the Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Alcohol & Drug Use, not the Rice County Chemical Health Coalition. All I found were stories about ZAP in misc PDF and Word doc newsletters and meeting minutes. ‘Twould be cool if someone could rectify this and include these recent ‘success’ stories… and the cool poster that I’ve seen around town.


  1. Josh Hinnenkamp said:

    You bring up the fact that ZAP seems to have little information that can be found about the organization, especially on community non-profit websites, but perhaps there is a reason for this. Here is something to think about: at the recent Drug Action Meetings, organized and presented by the Northfield Union of Youth (The Key), the Northfield Police Department sent exactly zero representatives (to either meeting) even though they were repeatedly (as a whole and individually) invited. To be fair, the county sheriff, Richard Cook, did show up as a representative of Rice County at the second meeting, but no one from the local level. What does this say about police involvement in the community? At the meetings I had numerous participants approach me and ask if I had invited local law enforcement. In fact one of the issues brought up at the meeting at the Armory was the lack of dialog and relationship between community organizations and the local townspeople with the police department. It is too bad that Northfield police were not there to help us act on this. So the question is, is it an organization’s responsibility to force a relationship with the police?

    Busting underage house parties is not a new or creative approach: it is their job. I think another approach to the drug and alcohol problem would be fostering a relationship with the community. I would like to see changes within the department to get to the core of this issue and this would most definitely mean more involvement with local organizations.

    P.S. the staged photo is shoddy journalism and should not have been included. I’m glad you didn’t do this with the heroin stories.

    August 25, 2007
  2. In my opinion (and I do tend to have them) the Northfield Union of Youth could be one of the most effective NGOs working on these issues. But their role, like that of the churches, the Scouts and other youth-oriented groups should be to inform, guide and prevent the growth of the isolating cliques that allow some groups to convince themselves that it is okay to use drugs illegally (whether underage tobacco, underage alcohol or others). The police are not baby-sitters or counselors. The fact that we (as a society) continually stand aside and ask them to solve our problems is just another example of a trend toward not accepting responsibility for ourselves and our neighbors because it is someone else’s “job”. Lord knows I am not a big fan of Hillary Clinton, but she certainly got it right when she said it takes a village to raise our kids. This morning at the 3-wise-guys’ coffee we noted that few adults (if any) feel empowered to even talk to a 15-year old about smoking, or a twelve-year old about language or … (you get the idea). As a society we have become so frightened of being accused of lifestyle intolerance that we have forgotten that the role of the adult is to guide and nurture (not just watch) the next generation as they navigate those shoals that separate children from adulthood.

    So, I ask you, Josh, as one of the leaders of your community, when is the last time you reached out to help someone you did not already know? I bet it was pretty recently. And I bet you do it well. But have you broken the code on how to teach your peers to do it? That’s when you become a real leader. I love that the Union of Youth is all over this, and would suggest that the Union look to other youth organizations to see how they have become successful at multiplying their effectiveness, then leverage their experience to reach your particular audience.

    August 26, 2007
  3. Holly Cairns said:

    Photo: Looks like Desperately Seeking Susan

    I was glad to read you did NOT include the kids’ names, again.

    I wonder if those raids would be effective without releasing names… I think they’d still be effective. The idea of the police breaking down a door is pretty scary…

    August 26, 2007
  4. Josh Hinnenkamp said:


    Please understand that we are on the same page. I think you may have misunderstood the point I was trying to make. The police are part of this village, which means there are multiple roles which we must all play. Does a teacher just have to teach in this village? No, they should be a good guide/mentor and role model. Does a city council member simply vote and represent only their constituency? No they get involved with the community (and hopefully youth issues and organizations). Compartmentalizing the village does not equal a village; it means everyone is doing their own thing. When we reach out and take on other roles is when we become this village. Because we are adults with experience, it is our job as adults to take on these roles. I currently feel the police could do a better job in moving out of this compartmentalized structure and becoming part of this village. Seeing cops as role models and mentors would go a long way from the view many have of cops as authority figures with a unique level of power.

    August 26, 2007
  5. kiffi summa said:

    Josh, Bruce………..it is rare that i do not think i have something more to say, but Josh….you said it all for me .

    Thanks, and for all you do for/with the Key.

    August 26, 2007
  6. john george said:

    Bruce- I would side with Andy Rooney when he said, “It does not take a village to raise a child. What it takes is a parent who will stand up to his child, spank his little behind if necessary, and say, ‘NO!'”

    August 26, 2007
  7. BruceWMorlan said:

    John, while Andy Rooney is known for being a comic, he is out of touch with today’s litigious environment. We have taken most direct force methods out of the hands of parents. Thus, at a time when neuroscience is telling us that you simply cannot reason with a 2 year old, we are presenting parents with models that look more suited to third world, Middle Eastern negotiations (which, ironically, often involves tribal organization that are the cultural equivalents of 2 year olds as far as their abilities to listen to reason).

    When we are talking about pre-teens and teens, however, a parent has to be able to count on the rest of the adults to help “report back” or intervene on the spot when little Johnny does something stupid. That’s when the village effect takes place.

    August 27, 2007
  8. john george said:

    Bruce- I agree with you wholeheartedly on this. I remember an incident once when I was in high school. I lived on a farm near a small town of about 300 people. I had been at a football game in the county seat town where I went to high school. On the way home, I drove down the main street of town just to see if there was anything going on (as if there would have been!). It wasn’t a direct way home, but only a couple miles out of the way. My dad, who operated a mechanic shop in the town, came home for dinner the next day and asked me why I had driven through town the night before!

    We are missing this dynamic in some communities. I also feel there aren’t enough parents telling their children no. I have also overheard conversations between parents where observations of misbehavior on the part of their children were not well received. I guess that if I told someone about misbehavior of their children, and I was told to butt out, I would probably butt out. We parents really need to stick together.

    August 27, 2007
  9. Curt Benson said:

    John, your observation that sometimes parents don’t receive stories about the misbehavior of their children well reminds me of what happened in Hudson, Wisconsin earlier this summer.

    I have relatives there that told me about this. At the end of the school year, a large number of seniors pulled a “prank” that resulted in $40,000 damage to a number of area schools. The prank was “masterminded” by the class president, who was also the star quarterback and going to play football in college. He bought about 20 cans of spray paint, in the colors of a rival school–to make it look like the other school was responsible. Groups of kids went out to five schools (I think) including their own and vandalized them.

    The group was comprised of the school’s various hot shots–some might dare call them “alpha” kids. The class valedictorian and other kids who were scheduled to speak at the graduation ceremony were involved.

    However, Hudson’s best and brightest apparently were unaware of the security camera concept—not to mention the difficulty of keeping a secret when over 30 kids are involved—and they were caught immediately.

    Most of those involved are over 18, and thirteen are facing adult felony charges. Others that went along for the rides, but didn’t actually do the damage are facing lessor charges.

    Anyway, I’m told that parents of the kids scheduled to speak at the graduation ceremony were irate when the school wouldn’t let them participate. They thought they should be able to discreetly write a check, and all would be forgiven.


    August 27, 2007
  10. john george said:

    Curt- Excellent current example, and in a “small” town, to boot.

    August 27, 2007
  11. Griff Wigley said:

    Is anyone willing to contact the people connected with ZAP to see if they would address the lack of a web page on the program?

    Josh, I’m interested in more feedback on my choice of photo. I know you said it was shoddy but can you say why? I also got criticized for using a stock photo of a heroin addict using a needle, so it may be something I should reconsider.

    August 29, 2007

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