By Mike LaBella
---- — HAVERHILL — With the holiday season upon us, police in Haverhill will be cracking down on underage drinking with the help of a $9,943 grant.
“This much needed funding helps us target the problem of underage drinking on all fronts,” said Police Capt. Alan Ratte. “Whether you are underage, plan to sell to a minor, or buy alcohol for a minor, this funding promotes our effort to diligently enforce the laws against underage drinking.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention provided $532,000 to Massachusetts for distribution through the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Highway Safety Division.
Haverhill received one of 76 grants to local police departments awarded on a competitive basis.
Other local grant recipients include: Amesbury, $ 4,800; Methuen, $ 9,978 and North Andover, $ 4,990.
Ratte said the funds support stings and compliance checks for minors in bars, restaurants and retail locations, as well as reverse stings and party patrols.
Progress has been made in Massachusetts over the last several years, Ratte said. Violations for underage drinking decreased 41.5 percent from 2007 to 2011 and arrests of drivers under 18 for operating under the influence decreased 45.4 percent from 2006 to 2010. Ratte said that despite this hopeful trend, more work needs to be done to further reduce underage drinking and driving.