published Saturday, May 18th, 2013

Signal police should show some restraint

The arrest of 17 high school students for drinking alcohol under age earlier this month says more about the Signal Mountain Police Department than it does about the tipsy teens.

Namely, that they lack compassion and common sense. Can't they find something better to do than act in ways that are unduly harsh to young people?

Signal Mountain police arrest people for underage liquor law violations at an alarming rate. No police force in Hamilton County makes more arrests for drinking under age than the Signal Mountain Police Department.

In 2012, the Chattanooga Police Department arrested just four people under the age of 21 for liquor law violations, according to the TBI's annual report of crime statistics. Signal Mountain arrested eight. Chattanooga has 22 times more people -- about 163,000 more -- than Signal Mountain, yet the Signal Mountain Police Department arrested twice as many teens for drinking violations.

East Ridge, which has three times the population of Signal Mountain, had only two arrests for underage alcohol consumption. Red Bank had none. Lookout Mountain and Walden, which are similar to Signal Mountain in terms of population and socioeconomic climate, also had no arrests in 2012 for drinking under the legal age, according to the TBI.

It is likely, if not certain, that more young people were arrested on May 5 for drinking under age by the Signal Mountain Police Department than will be arrested for the rest of the year by every other police department in Hamilton County combined.

Signal Mountain's comparatively huge number of arrests for underage drinking isn't because Signal Mountain has a worse problem with alcohol among high school-aged kids. It's because Signal Mountain police lack prudence and restraint.

When most police forces are called to break up a house party for being too loud and arrive to discover the soiree is full of drinking teens, the cops give out stern warnings, have discussions with parents and offer safe rides home. Not in Signal Mountain.

In Signal Mountain, the police officers cuff and arrest a bunch of kids, giving them criminal records and potentially hurting their chances to graduate from high school or get into the college of their dreams in the process.

Is underage drinking illegal? Yes. Should police officers be able to arrest people engaged in illegal behavior? Without question. But there are better ways to help teens learn from their mistakes, make wise decisions and stay on the straight and narrow than tossing them into the back of a squad car for committing a very minor and ultimately harmless violation.

Signal Mountain police officers should remember that.

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librul said...

Utter bull puckey.

May 18, 2013 at 1:10 a.m.
DJHBRAINERD said...

Maybe there are less arrests in those areas because people in those areas tend not to call the police for noise. But when you live on a quite mountain and pay a premium to live away from the hustle and busle of the urban street every noise is a magnified inconvinience. An inconvinience you have paid extra not to have to tolerate. So if you want the Signal Mountain police to stop responding to noise complaints which other laws should they pick and choose not to enforce? Kind of a luxury they don't have. Still deflecting blame huh? Can we get an article on how it was just an honest mistake and kids will be kids concerning a fistfight at Brainerd? Seems like that was a call for more officers on campus to help with the growing gang problem. Don't remember those kids will be kids needing additional officers when they got into a brawl with the Baylor boys down just off Signal Mountain BLvd a couple years ago but then it was just a youthful indiscresion. Your social hypocracy has been duely noted. Police in more affuent areas should not enforce the laws. Got it. But call it the SWAT on the down in the vally types. Got it. I have a hard time believing a professional journalist would find this editorial fit for print. Must have been some arm twistin going on and a favor called in to get this in the paper. Total bull puckey as LIBRUL has already stated. Poor kids gonna have to pick up some trash then have thier record espunged so it's like it never happened.....Oh the horrors!

May 18, 2013 at 2:28 a.m.
DJHBRAINERD said...

Why didn't you compare the number of arrests to that of UTC's Campus police..... aren't they more likely to arrest for underage drinking, seeing that is where the minors are drinking, than the CPD? The right to know section of this very paper lists 389 arrests for underage drinking/selling alcohol to minors (139 this year) http://right2know.timesfreepress.com/mugs.aspx?page=1......Doesn't quite fit the narative you have laid out before us but that was the point of your selective statistics now wasn't it.... Got any integrety left up there in the editorial room? Who do I see to get a favorable editorial written on my behaf? Must be nice to have friends in high places.

May 18, 2013 at 3:05 a.m.
hcirehttae said...

This is the stupidest opinion I've read in a while. An unsupervised house party with teens drinking and the police are supposed to ignore the law and call everybody a cab? That's the same attitude of lax permissiveness that gets young people (and old) killed on our highways incessantly. Not to mention law enforcement covering for each other and giving rides here and there. If you don't enforce the law on Signal, the message is that high-socioeconomic communities are not treated the same. Promulgate the law, for everyone. Period. If you don't like it, work to change it. Better still, work to fix our society's addictions to so many things that are evil and cause suffering, instead of crying, "personal choice - it's my rights - freedom, freedom." Blah blah blah. I never thought I'd miss Lee Anderson...

May 18, 2013 at 6:46 a.m.
cooljb said...

Cast the first stone you arrogant, at a premium, falsies.

May 18, 2013 at 8:08 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

the message is that high-socioeconomic communities are not treated the same.

Sadly, that is true and always has been.

May 18, 2013 at 8:12 a.m.
inquiringmind said...

The editorialist says, "No police force in Hamilton County makes more arrests for drinking under age than the Signal Mountain Police Department." Maybe if the Chattanooga police spent more time enforcing drinking violations and got to an arrest percentage as Signal mountain we might see some changes? - Or at least call out all the hypocrisy about law and order, I guess they think lynching is just a case of "boys will be boys."

How many of the editors' friends live on Signal and Lookout Mt? Do we forget the past blow-up when police busted a prominent (sic) citizen on the mountain (along with some under-aged Baylor, McCallie, GPS kids) for hosting and supplying alcohol at his home?

I note with interest the GPS headmaster's comment that though it was a bad choice by the students it isn't a school matter but a parent one. So much for their big billboard about training your girls to be good citizens (rule #1: in case of imminent arrest run - don't get caught). If you got busted for even a single beer in the prep school I attended not only did you not walk at graduation, you walked out the front door to a public school or another private school with looser standards.

I suggest the mountain boys do have a problem with alcohol. I also suggest with as much kindness that i can muster that the FP editors have an ethical problem. Why don't they push for a lower drinking age if it is such a minor issue? Or why not abolish the law about providing alcohol to minors if it is such a small problem?

Perhaps the best idea is to make it legal for parents on the mountain to give permission slips, allowing their trusting, sweet kids to drink but also accepting all liability (criminal and civil) from any adverse event consequent to the drinking. Maybe a better solution is for them to arrange their beer parties at their local church? I'm sure their fellow parishioners would approve.

May 18, 2013 at 8:14 a.m.
Facts said...

As I understand, a complaint was made by a call. So, using your thinking, with better things to do, Police should ignore some complaints. Sounds exactly like what kept 3 women locked in a house in Cleveland, Ohio for 10 years. They had more important laws to enforce.

May 18, 2013 at 8:26 a.m.
klifnotes said...

It is likely, if not certain, that more young people were arrested on May 5 for drinking under age by the Signal Mountain Police Department than will be arrested for the rest of the year by every other police department in Hamilton County combined.

(1.) According to one of your very own prior posters, while much focus have always been targeted at poor and minority communities, such illegal activities have always gone on in these type communities that were considered better and crime free. What would Drew's response have been if these arrests had taken place in some poor community? A life ruined by an arrest record is still a life ruined regardless of which side of the tracks that life resides.

(2.) Alcohol is a gateway drug, especially when consumed by teens. Where you find teens consuming alcohol you're also likely to find illegal drugs present, risky sexual activities, and even accusations of sexual assault when the individual sobers up the morning after. Other harmful and dangerous activities are also usually taking place.

__(A.)Most all those military and college campus sexual assaults took place in an environment where all parties involved (even the accuser) had been engaging in heavy drinking and who knows what else, and inhibitions has been lowered on all sides. (That's one of the many things the military especially has been leaving out or downplaying in recent accusations of sexual abuse in the military/some military bases have become nothing more than party time frat/sorority house/especially where co-ed living quarters exist.

(3.) Alcohol and drug abuse leads to addictions. The younger the individual when they begin using alcohol and drugs, the more likely they are to become alcoholics, drug addicts or both.

(4.) The rules shouldn't change just because the individual lives in a higher income neighborhood.

(5.) Finally, what if those teens had left home in the family car and gone off driving, killing themselves or some innocent family on the road?

The article's title should be: SIGNAL MOUNTAIN POLICE SHOULDN'T ARREST MY DRUNKEN FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS AND KIN.

May 18, 2013 at 9 a.m.
rumrunr said...

by your thinking, the police had a choice not to arrest those kids. by my thinking, the kids had a choice not to drink. simply put, the police chose correctly and the kids didn't.

May 18, 2013 at 9:48 a.m.
jesse said...

If you go into a bar drunk and the bartender serves you alcohol and you leave and run over someone and kill them then the bartender is libel! If a cop answers a call for a rowdy party and observes under age drunks and fail to take action,leaves and one of them dui's and runs over someone WHO do you think gets hung out to dry!The cop did EXACTLY what he was sworn to do!AND maybe in the process saved a life ot two!!I had high hopes for Drew but this kinda thinkin is making me re evaluate his mind set!!

May 18, 2013 at 10:13 a.m.
DJHBRAINERD said...

Maybe if they had not ran from the police forcing them to follow though the woods warnings would have been issued. Ever seen the mugshots of people resisting arrest and evading arrest? Most look like they fell up a couple flights of stairs. I keep reading and rereading this editorial. It is so far out there I am just plain dumbfounded that someone thought this was worthy of print. JESSE.... I think this one was handed down to him with marching orders......

May 18, 2013 at 10:32 a.m.
pictograph2 said...

Am I to feel sad that these students might now be rejected from their dream college? Why should they be sheltered from the natural consequences of their choices and actions? Obviously the writer is a proponent of this kind of enabling that only hurts young people in the long run, or perhaps he is a buddy of a parent if one if these children. The article is embarrassing. I can't believe TFP decided it fit to publish.

May 18, 2013 at 10:43 a.m.
pictograph2 said...

...furthermore, if the writer wants to blame, he could blame his own employer for publishing the kids' mugshots online to sell papers, not the police for arresting them!

May 18, 2013 at 10:57 a.m.
chet123 said...

HOW DARN YOU DRAG NET 17 JUVENILE SOME OF THEM ARE FROM AFFLUENT FAMILY........THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF DOUBLE STANDARDS.....INSTEAD OF RESOLVING THE PROBLEMS......THE REACTION IS "HOW DARE YOU"...THE POLICE ARE DOING THEIR JOB.....INSTEAD THEY ARE ASKED TO TURN THEIR HEAD THE OTHER WAY.....

REALLY AMAZING!!!!

WHAT ABOUT ALL THE VALLEY KIDS THAT HAVE RECORDS FROM PETTY-CRIMES Hmmmm?

May 18, 2013 at 12:10 p.m.
EmmetFullen said...

You've put it together, Pictograph2. Times Free Press is taking heat from the powerful, wealthy families of the 18-year-olds for publishing their mug shots online. To diffuse the heat away from how low TFP is willing to stoop to sell online advertising and papers, they had this guy write this asinine article to shift blame onto the Signal Mountain police.

May 18, 2013 at 12:19 p.m.
John_Proctor said...

"If you run from the police, you will go to jail tired."

These underage drinkers should have learned that before trying to do the "Felony 500" into the woods to get away from the Po-Po. I seem to recall a similar incident a few years back only then Dade County was the site of Party Central. Different department, same results.

May 18, 2013 at 3:32 p.m.
jesse said...

I seriously doubt that gittin busted for P.D. is gonna ruin anybodys life! For some it's a rite of passage into the grownup world! Kids are gonna mess up and learning that you have to pay the ferry man is part of the process of growing up!!

I know things are diff/now BUT back in the day if you ran from the police you went to the hosp.befor you went to jail!!

May 18, 2013 at 7:38 p.m.
AndrewLohr said...

I do know of a church that served beer at a public block party--pastor Burke Shade, Carbondale Illinois.

May 19, 2013 at 2:02 a.m.
inquiringmind said...

klifnotes - alcohol is not a "gateway" drug, an addictive personality is.

May 19, 2013 at 6:45 a.m.
klifnotes said...

So, inquiringmind, you're saying an addictive personality is a gateway drug? Does that really make any sense?

The facts remain, people who abuse alcohol are more likely to graduate on to using and abusing drugs. The younger the individual when they start out drinking, the more likely they are to graduate on to using hardcore drugs. I've known some drug users who don't drink, but I've rarely to never come across an alcoholic who didn't use drugs.

May 19, 2013 at 8:56 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

Inquiring mind has a point: Most teens do experiment with alcohol or pot. However, regular use is often a symptom of underlying psychopathology (mostly depression, bi-polar or anxiety) and is a form of self-medication. We always worked with the medical and psychiatric professionals whenever we had an adolescent who could not control their use, even in the face of dire consequences. Many, many teens emerge from adolescence without becoming addicted, and my bet is that most of these 17 teens fall into that category. But the few that do not require intervention.

A self-medicating teen with no intervention is a great risk to moving on to other drugs. But even if they don't, alcohol alone can cause great damage.

May 19, 2013 at 9:07 a.m.
klifnotes said...

lkeithlu said... Inquiring mind has a point: Most teens do experiment with alcohol or pot. However, regular use is often a symptom of underlying psychopathology (mostly depression, bi-polar or anxiety) and is a form of self-medication

Having worked in the field, many of those illnesses you've mentioned are a result of alcohol and drug abuse. That's not to say there can't be underlying problems before hand that can lead to abusing drugs and alcohol. But many times those problems manifest as a result of substance abuse.

May 19, 2013 at 9:21 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

They are not the result of alcohol and drug abuse. I've seen children diagnosed with these things before they ever had any drugs or alcohol. Puberty is the most common time of onset (not always). I have a family member who developed bipolar disease having never used. Our local pediatrician advised us that excessive (not experimental) use of mind-altering substance was a 99% probability of an underlying psychiatric condition.

May 19, 2013 at 9:29 a.m.
klifnotes said...

lkeithlu said... They are not the result of alcohol and drug abuse. I've seen children diagnosed with these things before they ever had any drugs or alcohol

You can't put all those eggs in one basket. That's a very dangerous assumption. In essence, you're either saying or implying that all young people diagnosed with psychologicaly, emotional and mental problems will become alcoholics and drug addicts. What I'm saying is there are otherwise healthy people who went on to abuse alcohol and drugs who develop psychological, mental and emotional problems after the fact. That's like the guy who was healthy before becoming an alcoholic but dies from liver failure. His liver was healthy before he became an alcoholic. His liver became damaged and unhealthy as a result of alcohol abuse.

The danger in placing all those eggs in one basket and saying or implying every individual diagnosed with a psychological, mental or emotional problem will become drug/alcohol abusers is that we start cast a wide net and over compensate, creating even greater problems.

example: schools around the country are hauling children as young a five and six off to mental hospitals, at times in handcuffs, to be evaluated for psychological problems for throwing temper tantrums or exhibiting other normal childhood behavior. New York schools specifically.

As a result, the outcome will be America is going to end up having to deal with a helluva lot of psychologically damaged adults in the future if someone doesn't step up, use common sense and placed things in perspective.

May 19, 2013 at 10:19 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

You went WAY beyond what I posted. What I said is that alcohol does not CAUSE mental illness, and I think I am correct on that point. Abuse is a symptom. Many, if most, adults can use in moderation; most of those experimented as teens. I am just going by what the medical community advised us.

May 19, 2013 at 9:26 p.m.
klifnotes said...

Many, if most, adults can use in moderation;

The key word you used is moderation. We all know teens rarely if ever do anything in moderation. Therein lies the problem. Alcohol in excess can cause mental and physical deterioration, which of course leads to mental problems and other issues. Anytime one part of the human body is compromised it will have a negative effect other parts of the body. In excess, alcohol can affect liver function, kidney function, damage blood vessel which carries oxygen throughout the body, including the brain. And also, people who drink in excess usually do so in combination with drug abuse and other risky and dangerous behavior. Especially teens.

conclusion: alcohol abuse can can be a contributing factor to mental health problems, and not necessarily or always the other way around. I'm not saying individuals with mental health problems don't, won't or will never use or abuse drugs and/or alcohol. Just that not every person diagnosed with a mental health problem are direct candidates for drug and alcohol abuse.

Does that mean anyone and everyone who drinks will come down with mental heath issues? Absolutely not! Everyone who smokes cigarettes will not develop lung cancer, and some people who have never smoke have been known to develop lung cancer. Most in the medical field know there are no absolutes or guarantees either way.

I can't imagine anyone in the medical community stating otherwise, unless they answered according to how the question was presented to them.

Finally, what's really disturbing and dangerous is that so many American kids are being misdiagnosed with mental problems and placed on medication when in reality they're just exhibiting normal adolescent behavior. Which not only can lead to being wrongly medicated, but can also have dangerous and even deadly consequences.

Several years ago the courts forced a young mother to have her child placed on ritalin or they were going to take the child away, when if the courts had investigated the situation thoroughly they'd have discovered she was acting out in school because to being harassed, taunted, bullied and teased at school, and not by the students either.

May 20, 2013 at 12:55 a.m.
inquiringmind said...

klifnotes you seem to have little awareness of the nature of addiction for some one who "has worked in the field." We can talk about the negative health effects of excess alcohol consumption but the whole argument about "gateway" drugs falls flat on its face.

Children in Europe do not seem to be out of kilter compared to the US and it is quite common ofr parents to begin offering wine to children at an early age. If we get back to the Signal Mountain problem, many the core issue is not alcohol but parental irresponsibility.

Finally, it serves no good to buttress your argument by providing sweeping quotes of some events but not providing facts so we can look at them to see if you are factually representing a situation. For example, was the mother refusing to provide medication to a child with a personality disorder that causes the conflict at school ? What did the court-appointed guardian do? What was the testimony of the doctor in the case? What was the court case, i'd like to review it? Are you quoting information protected by HIPPA and adjudication of minors, or creating a make-believe case to support your argument?

May 20, 2013 at 7:39 a.m.
lblue said...

It is not the job of the police to raise your children! It is the parent's responsibility. One problem with some of the youth of today is that they have been "babied" and think everything is a free ride. Kudos to these officers for NOT raising these people's children for them!! Hopefully, these kids might think before they do this again and do worse, like drinking and driving, which may KILL someone (or themselves)!

May 20, 2013 at 8:58 a.m.
kris1026 said...

I think this article was very disrespectful to the Signal Mountain Police Department. To say that the police lack restraint...that's rediculous. What about the teens lacking restraint? These kids know that the legal drinking age is 21. I know that "kids will be kids" but they also know the potential consequences of these actions. They made the choice to drink. So if they have a criminal record and can't graduate or get into the college of their dreams, I believe that is their own fault. If the cops would've just turned their heads and something tragic ended up happening as a result of the drinking, the police would still get the blame. The question would be, "The police knew these kids were drinking. Why didn't they do something about it?" I think we should be proud that our police officers take their job seriously. The teens should remember that.

May 20, 2013 at 9:26 a.m.
klifnotes said...

inquiringmind said... klifnotes you seem to have little awareness of the nature of addiction for some one who "has worked in the field." We can talk about the negative health effects of excess alcohol consumption but the whole argument about "gateway" drugs falls flat on its face.

Actually, inquire, there have been several studies downplayed that actually support what I've said. They were just ignored. But like that old burger king ad: HAVE IT YOUR WAY. Then deal with the consequences later. That's the usual approach taken.

Children in Europe do not seem to be out of kilter compared to the US and it is quite common ofr parents to begin offering wine to children at an early age.

Countries in Europe also have their fair share of teens drinking in excess, alcoholism and drug abuse. Just because you're not privy to that reality doesn't make it not so.

If we get back to the Signal Mountain problem, many the core issue is not alcohol but parental irresponsibility.

We can agree somewhat on that. But youth being youth, they're going the test limits and defy rules, their parents regardless. The same as many of us did in our youth.

Finally, it serves no good to buttress your argument by providing sweeping quotes of some events but not providing facts so we can look at them to see if you are factually representing a situation.

Oh, now we go into the fact and factual arena. Which usually means *denial. WE? Who R the WEES?

For example, was the mother refusing to provide medication to a child with a personality disorder that causes the conflict at school ? What did the court-appointed guardian do? What was the testimony of the doctor in the case? What was the court case, i'd like to review it? Are you quoting information protected by HIPPA and adjudication of minors, or creating a make-believe case to support your argument?

None, neither, nada

Bottom line is: Far too many America's children are being diagnosed with mental, emotional and psychological issues then medicated for exihibiting what was once considered a normal part of growing up. There will be a heavy price to pay because of that at some point.

May 20, 2013 at 10:35 a.m.
chet123 said...

SHAME ON YOU SIGNAL MTN POLICE......LEAVE THESE RICH KIDS ALONE...

LET CHATTANOOGA POLICE DEPT.RUIN THE VALLEY KID GOOD FAMILY NAME(BUSTED)MAGAZINE

May 22, 2013 at 12:27 p.m.
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