The Orange County Sheriff's Department has launched a new program in Laguna Hills to keep teenagers' weekend parties from getting out of hand. It's a good example of flexible community policing.
In the days of cell phones and beepers, news of a weekend party in progress travels fast. A get-together meant for 20 sometimes winds up drawing 200. The Sheriff's Department, which acts as the Laguna Hills police force, says overwhelmed party hosts have been known to call for help.
Last month, a two-officer weekend party patrol began roaming the city, searching for loud music, underage drinking or other problems that may stem from parties. Neighbors call police nearly a dozen times a week to complain about noise or crowds spilling onto streets.
Officers say they learn about some of the parties from parents or staffers at schools, indicating community support for the increased monitoring. At other times, it's just a matter of reading fliers distributed in school hallways to learn where the action will be.
Department officials are trying to work with parents to explain the program and its objectives, a smart step in maintaining residents' support. The problem also demonstrates the lack of positive events for young people. The frequency of complaints surely signals a need for more constructive activities for Orange County teenagers.