Sheriff Arpaio helping Tempe crack down on underage drinking

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio says underage drinking and partying in Tempe is out of control. That's why he has sent extra resources to help crack down through the weekend.

Dozens of deputies are working alongside Tempe police in the ongoing Operation Safe and Sober to address underage drinking and alcohol-related offenses.

“I’m very concerned we have an issue with youth alcohol and DUIs,” Tempe Police Chief Tom Ryff said. “It’s been on the news. We’ve seen individuals who have been hurt. We’ve seen individuals who have been killed. We’ve noticed an increase in some violence and alcohol-related disturbances."

Since the start of the operation on Aug. 15, police have made nearly 1,400 arrests, more than 300 of them for DUI. Nearly 3,800 citations have been handed out for violations, including underage drinking and fake IDs.

As part of the ongoing efforts, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has dedicated deputies and equipment to assist in the operation through Saturday night. A sheriff’s bus is stationed at the command post to transport suspects to Fourth Avenue Jail.

“If the law-enforcement response looks over the top, it is because these parties are over the top," Arpaio said in a statement. "What’s going on during these off-campus drunk fests is nothing to laugh at. Already serious injuries have occurred, and it won’t be long before somebody ends up dead.”