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Thu Jun 7, 2012, 01:23 AM

IndianCountryToday: Authorities Place Safety Checks Near Pine Ridge to Combat Alcohol Woes

Just south of Pine Ridge village on prom night for Pine Ridge High School, the blue and red swirling lights of Oglala Lakota tribal cop cars lit up the two-lane road, blocking the way to Whiteclay and its four liquor stores for any dancegoers who thought they’d swing by and pick up some booze for parties later in the evening. Sergeant Ken Franks, who was commanding the safety check, said there was a chance high school kids might try to buy some celebration libations and bring them back illegally onto the dry reservation.

“There’s a long history of prom night drunkenness,” agreed an elder, who asked not to be named. “When my kids were in school, they’d rent a limo for the prom and ask it to drive down to Whiteclay so they could stock up on beer.” Isn’t selling to anyone under 21 illegal in Nebraska? Sure thing, said a 30-something tribal member, who also asked to remain anonymous, but he’d bought beer in Whiteclay since he was a young teen and never heard of other kids having problems doing so. He described his prom nights: “We’d stay at the dance for just a short time, then me and my buddies would gather all our money, load up the truck with as much alcohol as we could and drive around all night getting drunk.”

To put a crimp in just these kinds of dangerous plans, at about 5:30 p.m. Franks and his team of highway-patrol officers set up their orange cones on the short stretch of road separating Pine Ridge village and Whiteclay. Drivers slowed down to pass through the checkpoint and answer officers’ questions. “If we suspect anyone has been drinking, we ask for permission to search their car,” said Franks, who called the liquor store owners “immoral” for playing fast and loose with laws restricting sales of alcohol.

Did the safety check work? “On the 25 to 30 occasions per year that we do them, calls go down in Pine Ridge village, according to officers on patrol there,” Franks said.

Read more:http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/06/05/authorities-place-safety-checks-near-pine-ridge-to-combat-alchohol-woes-116359 http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/06/05/authorities-place-safety-checks-near-pine-ridge-to-combat-alchohol-woes-116359#ixzz1x5OAqCRi

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