FAR HILLS, NJ – State, County and local law enforcement agencies plan a coordinated crackdown on underage drinking at Saturday's Far Hills Race Meeting.
Police will conduct identification checks of underage individuals suspected of drinking alcoholic beverages on the race grounds. Those individuals that are identified as underage will be taken into custody, charged and ultimately will have to be released to a non-intoxicated adult, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.
In continuing with last year’s initiative, any individual entering the event who is visibly intoxicated will be denied entry. Additionally, all individuals over the age of 21 will receive an identification band indicating that they are of legal age to consume alcohol. If an individual is observed consuming alcohol and does not have a band they will be required to show identification to law enforcement, according to Robertson. If unable to do so, they will be escorted off the property. Officers will be conducting roving patrols throughout the day, on the race grounds to identify individuals who are highly intoxicated and being disruptive. Any individual found to be causing a disturbance, endangering the safety and welfare of others, or otherwise not complying with this initiative, will be escorted from the property, he added.
"The Far Hills Race is one of the oldest traditions that takes place each Fall here in Somerset County. I have attended the race myself over many years and have enjoyed the people and great atmosphere; however, after evaluating last year’s event, law enforcement as well as the Far Hills Race Commission has serious concerns about the underage drinking problem that exists at this event,” Robertson said.
"We are aware that this problem has existed for some time; however, we are taking a new approach in an effort to curtail the abuse of alcohol by minors and provide a safe atmosphere for all the attendees,.” he added. "This initiative will involve increased police presence, enforcement of underage drinking laws, enforcement of the rules on race day and encouraging spectators to be responsible at their reserved spots. The notification concerning the rules and regulations will be distributed via social media outlets and direct email notifications to those participants who purchased a reserved spot, as well as ticket holders.
"We want people to have fun and enjoy the day; however, if you are not 21 you cannot consume alcohol, it’s the law," Robertson said.