Working with police officers
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Working with Police Officers. Captain Tom Roth, Westbrook Police Department Sergeant John Desjardins, Westbrook Police Department Maryann Harakall, MPPM, Office of Substance Abuse. Presentation Overview. Where does enforcement fit into a comprehensive plan? Why work with law enforcement?

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Working with Police Officers

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Working with Police Officers

Captain Tom Roth, Westbrook Police Department

Sergeant John Desjardins, Westbrook Police Department

Maryann Harakall, MPPM, Office of Substance Abuse

Presentation Overview

  • Where does enforcement fit into a comprehensive plan?

  • Why work with law enforcement?

  • How to make contact with law enforcement

  • What can and CAN’T law enforcement do for coalitions?

Presentation Overview

  • What can a coalition do for law enforcement?

  • Best and worst approaches to engage law enforcement

  • Other advice


  • Tell us your perceptions of law enforcement – these can be your own perceptions, or what you believe the perceptions are out in your community

  • Share positive and negative experiences with law enforcement

Where does enforcement fit into a comprehensive plan?

  • A comprehensive plan includes social norm change, access to alcohol, and enforcement of laws

  • Need to work with law enforcement or the first two pieces cannot be successful

Where Does Enforcement Fit Into a Comprehensive Plan?

  • Connection to the community

  • Enforcement can affect social norms such as youth perception of getting caught

  • Enforcement can reduce access through perception and physically limiting it


2008 MYDAUS Data


2008 MYDAUS Data

Youth Citation Data

Adult Citation Data

Making Contact with Law Enforcement

  • Set up an initial meeting with the chief and designee

  • Start with the school resource officer, if there is one

  • Call the department and ask who is assigned to work with youth

Making Contact with Law Enforcement

  • Ask the department to participate in a specific activity or event you are sponsoring

  • Invite the chief (or his representative) to one of your board meetings

  • Have an officer you are already connected to link you with new officers

Best Approaches For Engaging Law Enforcement

  • Be prepared when you meet with law enforcement

  • Know what you’re asking them to do

  • Explain how this will benefit them

  • Give them resources

Best Approaches For Engaging Law Enforcement

  • Have money to give them for overtime details for underage drinking enforcement

  • Understand how unions (overtime shifts) work

Worst Approaches to Engage Law Enforcement

  • Tell the department how to do underage drinking prevention

  • Expect them to know everything

  • Expect them to work for nothing

  • Expect them to jump on board right away

Other advice

  • It may be hard at first, but keep trying to make connections

  • Bring another, well respected, officer with you, or ask them to recommend you to other departments

  • Try to always have an officer co-present with you

What Can Law Enforcement Help With?

  • Increase the enforcement of underage drinking laws by adopting the model policy (or some version of it)

  • Share information on what’s happening in the community

  • Provide real life examples of where prevention has worked

What Can Law Enforcement Help With?

  • Can sit on your action committee

  • Can help make connections with neighboring departments

  • Can get other community members involved

What CAN’T They Do?

  • CAN’T participate in organized activities that are not consistent with the mission

  • CAN’T become involved in controversial alliances

  • CAN’T join groups without checking with the Chief

  • CAN’T solicit donations from the public

What Can a Coalition Do for Law Enforcement?

  • Provide money for overtime details, equipment, and training

  • Help make connections between law enforcement and retailers

  • Provide research about best practices for underage drinking prevention

  • Provide training opportunities

What Can a Coalition Do for Law Enforcement?

  • Provide leg-work for contacting retailers

  • Can assist in writing grant applications

  • Can write letters of support for grant applications

  • Provide other resources


  • Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center:

  • Model law enforcement policy:


  • Powerpoints for law enforcement:

  • Free, online training on underage drinking prevention:


Scenario Activity

1. You have just come from your coalition’s board meeting where you have been charged with recruiting two law enforcement agencies to join the board. You’re new to your position and to the community. You do not know any officers in your service area. Where do you start?

2. You’ve just come from Smalltown Police Department where you’ve pitched the idea of creating a partnership to prevent underage drinking. The officer you are talking with tells you that he agrees that underage drinking is a problem in the community, but the department is so overloaded with other issues and that they are shorthanded that underage drinking is not a priority for them at this time. What do you do next?

3. Your son comes home from school and tells you that there was a large underage drinking party over the weekend. When you ask him what happened when the cops came, he tells you that the alcohol was confiscated and the attendees were told to go home. You know the chief so you ask him why none of the attendees were charged with possession you are told that it was “easier to dump the beer than to deal with that many kids”. You also ask why there was no investigation into where the youth got the alcohol. The chief tells you that it’s a lot of work to track down furnishers and they don’t have the budget to pay someone overtime to do that. What is your next step?

Contact Information

Westbrook Police Department


  • Captain Tom Roth

    [email protected]

  • Sergeant John Desjardins

    [email protected]

    Office of Substance Abuse


  • Maryann Harakall, MPPM

    [email protected]

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