OCPD Prepares for Influx of Minors for Senior Week - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

OCPD Prepares for Influx of Minors for Senior Week

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"Senior Week" events (Photo: WBOC) "Senior Week" events (Photo: WBOC)

OCEAN CITY, Md. - The first few weeks of June in Ocean City are busy for police, mostly because of "Senior Week," when thousands of graduating high schoolers head to the beach to celebrate.

Mike Lawson owns Barn 34, a popular restaurant in the resort town, and said it is a sort of rite of passage that has been happening for generations.

"I was a senior myself at one point in time down here and it can get pretty crazy," he said. "Everybody's out to have a good time but for the most part they're pretty good."

According to Ocean City police spokesperson Lindsay Richards, the department gets most of its calls and crimes during the so-called "June Bug" phase. The biggest issue in particular is underage drinking.

"They're here for the first time without their parents and underage drinking is something that we typically see with this group so our officers really focus on safe parties, and making sure that our graduating seniors are safe," she said. "Making sure that bars and restaurants aren't serving to underage individuals so that is something that we focus on."

Police enforce a program called RAAM, or "Reducing the Availability of Alcohol to Minors," which specifically targets area bars, restaurants and package stores.

Lawson said it is a focus for him as well. He said his staff is certified on alcohol management techniques.

"We're always vigilant, it's not just senior week," he said. "But our antennae is definitely up a little more this time of year."

The town also pairs up with a group called "Play it Safe" to offer drug- and alcohol-free events, that are also free of charge.

They also provide discounted bus passes.

"We definitely welcome high school seniors but we encourage them to make responsible decisions and enjoy themselves safely while they're here in town," Richards said.

Senior week is not a sanctioned event in Ocean City.

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