Sheriff ‘fires back’ after criticism for handling of raucous graduation party in Price

File photo: Gephardt Daily

CARBON COUNTY, Utah, May 31, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — The Carbon County Sheriff’s Office is firing back after a blast of public criticism for how it handled a post-graduation party in Price.

Responding to a residence after a noise complaint, officers found about 80 juveniles, many of them using alcohol or illicit drugs and causing damages to the house, where they were partying without the owner’s permission or knowledge. There was also significant damage done to the house.

“After reviewing the comments here, it is apparent that several people do not understand the gravity of this incident,” the CCSO said in a Facebook post.

“The drugs seized at the scene were not just Marijuana. In addition to Marijuana, seized items consisted of ecstasy, prescription amphetamine and unidentified crushed pills among many items of paraphernalia.”

Incidents of assault, injuries and alcohol poisoning and sexual abuse at graduation parties have risen in recent years, the statement says. So have liability risks.

“Many have also commented about prior graduation parties and question why they are not handled the same way they were years ago. Times have changed.”

Many more restrictions and expectations have been placed on law enforcement in recent years, the statement says.

“Several people have voiced dismay about money Carbon County has spent on other projects rather than a youth center. In regard to graduation night, chaperoned alcohol free activities are provided for the students.

“The county can also not afford a lawsuit because a person was injured or died as a result of being at the graduation party if we were made aware of it and ignored or even contained the party. The Sheriff’s Office would be found at fault because we allowed and in the eyes of a jury, contributed to the event.”

The CCSO post also addressed complaints that some people at the party were cited, and others were not.

“Juvenile Courts and District Courts are not set up to receive citations, so a person under 18 would be referred to juvenile court without being issued a citation,” the statement says. “This does not mean they are not being charged, they just don’t receive a paper citation, rather they receive a letter from the court ordering them to appear before the court at a later time ….

“We would much rather our young adults celebrate graduation in a responsible drug and alcohol free environment. But understand, if you should choose to attend a party like we had this year and we are made aware of it, we can no longer turn a blind eye and allow it to continue. There is too much liability and too much concern for your safety. Should you choose to act like an adult and have adult parties, expect to be held accountable like an adult.

“We would much rather see our youth have a good time, go home safe, and not feel the need to mix drugs and alcohol into the party. We do care about our community and the future of its residents. So, have fun, enjoys the great things this county has to offer, but please do them legally and with respect so we don’t need to become involved.”

The Sheriff’s Office also released photos of some of the drugs collected at the party.


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