Pharr police prep for spring break

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POSTED: Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 4:50pm

UPDATED: Friday, February 21, 2014 - 8:47am

Spring break is around the corner, and it typically means students return home and perhaps drink with their old friends. 

The Pharr police wants to be ready for any spike in underage drinking. 

"Spring break, this is a great opportunity to help law enforcement understand that it's not a rite of passage," said Steve Ross, from Texans Standing Tall, the organization that held the drill. "It costs a tremendous amount of damage to property and to people."

The exercise Thursday sought to help officers find out who is supplying alcohol to minors.

They are to crash a backyard party, and keep guests from scattering. 

"To help law enforcement to safely and securely break up underage drinking parties so people don't try to get away inebriated impaired driving or run away and get hurt," Ross said of the exercise's intent. 

All the unpaid actors are actually cadets at the police academy and they're supposed to act as if they're in a party atmosphere.  Organizers brought out all the props.  A beer pong table, an empty keg and even fake drugs.

"The officers that come in, they're very professional," said Alex Vargas, an academy cadet and actor for the drill.  "They're not out there like you see in the movies, kicking down doors, and they're able to corral a lot of the minors."

Vargas is one of the 30 or so actors who were given roles to throw officers off their game. Some are supposed to cry, others combative and the remaining are restless. But since they're cadets, they have a special perspective. 

 

"I guess it's going to be fun for us because we're going to be doing that and we know what to look out for," Vargas said.  

The exercise is the first of four held this year by Texans Standing Tall.  They're paid for by a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation.  

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