Seems that moral lessons are wandering throughout Kentucky like Presidential Candidates looking for math miracles.
Yes, the legal drinking age is 21, no, I don't know why folks seem so surprised that their little snowflakes got busted at 1 AM on a school night.
Hazard is a small coal mining town of 3000 or so about 100 miles from Lexington. Small town politics are rampant and the pissing contest between the Mayor and Police Chief has been going on for years. I am guessing the "outrage" by the Mayor started when he got called by one of the snowflake's parents at 4AM to FIX the problem. Ronnie doesn't tend to back down so this should be interesting.
Teen arrests create clash in Hazard
MAYOR, POLICE CHIEF AT ODDS; OFFICERS FEAR FOR PAY RAISES
By Cassondra Kirby
The early-morning arrest of several intoxicated students at Hazard High School has erupted into a public showdown between the city's mayor and police chief, causing fears among police that pay raises have been canceled.
Hazard Mayor Bill Gorman did not agree with the arrests, saying police should have turned the teens over to their parents without charging them, according to statements made during an open city commission meeting.
"I know you are right as far as the law is concerned, but as far as the compassion of this city is concerned, you were wrong," Gorman said to the police chief during the meeting, which three parents attended to complain.
"I disagree with you, mayor," responded police chief Ronnie Bryant. "I think this city wants us to enforce the law with our juveniles. I want to save their lives. I don't want to go to a funeral or to the hospital next time."
The commission meeting, which was held on May 5, was taped and released to the Herald-Leader by the city.
Tension between the department and the city has been brewing since the students were arrested about 1 a.m. on April 25.
Police and parents say more than a dozen students gathered at the school's football practice field to have a senior-year cookout.
Principal Happy Mobelini, who left the students about midnight, instructed them to lock the school's gate, Mobelini said. As he was leaving, he called city police and asked them to periodically check on the group until he returned, he said.
About thirty minutes later, when police drove to the field, they found half a dozen bottles of hard liquor and several cases of beer. Some of the teens were intoxicated, according to court records.
Police arrested 12 students, including five who are 18 years old or older, according to court records. They are: Joshua Combs, 19; James Bart Teague, 18; Eric J. Sims, 18; and Betsy L. Williams, 19, all of Hazard. Alex L. Brashear, 18, of Cornettsville was also arrested.
Seven other juvenile students were also charged and released to their parents. Their names have not been released.
The students were charged with alcohol intoxication and drinking in public, both misdemeanors.
Police are still investigating how the underage students got the alcohol they were drinking at the school.
"The kids asked if they could camp out and I said, 'yes,'" said Mobelini, who is also a city commissioner. "They were not drinking when I was up there, and they did not have permission to drink."
However, some parents question how the students could have become intoxicated so quickly and note that the students had locked away everybody's car keys so no one would drive intoxicated.
"They had done what they felt in their minds was all right, especially considering the fact that their principal was there with them," said Jim Wiseman, stepfather of one of the juveniles. "He hadn't been gone 30 minutes (when police arrived). They sure got into an awful lot of trouble in a half-hour's time."
During the meeting, Bryant listened as parents criticized him for allowing the officers to charge the students, which they said will damage their children's reputations and possibly affect their collegiate careers. They criticized officers for questioning their children without an adult present. They said that the students were not bothering anyone and that parents should have been called to pick them up.
Gorman openly criticized Bryant and the officers who responded to the field, saying they overreacted.
"I agree with you a thousand percent," Gorman said to the parents. "This is terrible."
Since he has been mayor, Gorman said, it has been the city's policy to contact the parents of a juvenile child who is stopped by police.
"Under the law, the police did what they were empowered to do," Gorman said Friday in an interview. "But when you are talking about 16-year-old kids and 17-year-olds, I don't like to see them have a court record. I feel like we ought to have great compassion for our young people, because they have a hard enough time in life without starting off that way."
However, Bryant said he would not have been able to live with himself if he had ordered the officers on the scene to release the students to their parents without charging them. He hopes the incident will deter the students from drinking underage in the future.
"You keep calling them kids, continue doing that -- because that's what they are. In my eyes, that's the reason we didn't turn our heads and allow them to go on," Bryant said to the parents while pointing out that most of the students at the field had driven to the party, which was held on a school night.
Bryant has worked for the Hazard police department for 34 years. He has been chief of police for seven.
With the public conflict between the mayor and the police chief, officers at the police department are concerned they might not receive raises the city was considering giving them in June, Bryant said.
The department -- which is made up of 19 sworn police officers -- was ordered to go without overtime for two months in anticipation of pay raises, he said. Without the overtime, the officers say they are suffering.
According to Bryant, eight officers and their families receive public assistance because of their low wages. He said five officers have left the department in the past two months for higher-paying jobs. The starting salary at the Hazard city police department is $8.49 an hour.
Gorman would not say Friday whether the city will issue the officers pay raises in upcoming months. However, he said the pay issue has nothing to do with the incident at the high school.
"Some of these boys in the police department are shooting at the city of Hazard, shooting at the mayor and shooting at our system," Gorman said. "This has nothing to do with the incident at the high school. When these policemen went to work for this police department, they knew what the salaries were."
Teen arrests create clash in Hazard