SPARKS, NV - While graduation is typically a happy time for families, police say it's also a peak time for underage drinking and partying. That's why - as high school seniors don their caps and gowns and hit the stage this week - expect to see police officers hitting the roads to make sure your kids celebrate by the rules.
Sparks Police Officer Yeadon Sturtevant and Sergeant Jeanmarie Walsh are cruising around town to make sure your kids aren't doing that drunk.
"Historically, we found an increase in juvenile drinking issues around the end of school and graduation," says Sgt. Jeanmarie Walsh. "So we're just attempting to try to take the pressure of the normal patrol units for those calls."
That kind of call - and noise complaints - brought them to a motel room in Sparks Wednesday night. A 14-year-old girl and her 15-year-old friend were there, unsupervised. Both claim they hadn't been drinking - and later breath tests confirm the girls had not consumed alcohol. But that doesn't mean they're off the hook.
"Their parents didn't really quite have a good idea about where they were at. Luckily they were not drinking. But they're too young to be out roaming around, kind of on their own so we had their parents come and get them," says Sgt. Walsh.
But police don't want to make that call - or worse ones.
School police say - even though this week's new grads are now young adults, they are not too old for parents to sit them down for a talk before they hit the parties.
"They still need to have that conversation about underage drinking and designated drivers because again, we do not want to have a very festive time to be a very tragic time as well," says Washoe County School Police Chief Mike Mieras.