Questions Posted to "Ask a Dispatcher"
Q. What do the police do if you are notified of a unsupervised party involving drinking, drugs and minors?
Dear Juneau Resident,
This is more information than you probably wanted!
First the dispatcher interviews the caller over the phone. The dispatcher's job is to find out what evidence the caller has, like they see a person known to them who is under 21 and intoxicated, they see drugs being used, or anything else that shows a crime is happening.
Then the call is sent to the shift supervisor, usually a sergeant. The sergeant has three or four officers, sometimes over lapping with another team on Friday and Saturday nights. The sergeant(s) prioritize calls and decide where to send officers. Crimes against people that are in progress obviously go to the top of the list. That means assaults including sexual assault get officers first. Then everything from motor vehicle crashes to vandalism are put in order based on strength of information, need to act immediately, and greatest danger to greatest number of citizens. Sergeants must also consider number of officers needed for the call and the physical location of the call to mentally reserve the amount of resources needed for the call.
When JPD goes to a call that does turn out to be minors doing drugs and drinking, the call will usually involve two officers and a supervisor for several hours. JPD knows from experience that not only will the impaired minors be difficult, they are not experienced with consequences, but parents will also have to respond to pick them up and that will take time. Having a supervisor there is often appropriate because while some parents will believe their children should have consequences, a substantial number will berate the officers, hire lawyers, fight against any punishment for the teenager, you get the picture. One group of JPD officers was the focus of a mother's wrath because the officers had the nerve to respond to a large drunken party in a hotel on prom night. The mother yelled at the officers about how they ruined the kids' night.
What would be great for JPD is to see more parental involvement in what young people, especially young people using cars, are doing. There is this great ad about how questions are the anti-drug with teenagers.