ADAMS -- Adams police are looking to crack down on underage drinking.
The department was awarded a $4,642.90 federal grant to step up its enforcement of alcohol laws, including compliance checks in local bars and party patrols, it announced last week.
"This much-needed funding helps us target the problem of underage drinking on all fronts," Adams Police Chief Richard Tarsa said in statement.
Adams was one of 76 communities across the state to receive the U.S. Department of Justice’s "Underage Alcohol Enforcement Grant," which ranges from $3,500 to $15,000 and is distributed by the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.
Samantha Talora, assistant to the chief, said the grant meant being able to increase police patrols "without compromising the [town] budget."
In its application for the grant, Talora said, the department noted the increased potential for underage drinking in more rural towns like Adams, because young people in these communities can have fewer opportunities for occupying their time.
In Massachusetts, the boost in enforcement has actually resulted in more arrests of adults than minors. According to a department press release, the grant is credited with 219 arrests of youths and 272 arrests of adults over the last two years in the commonwealth alone.
"Parents need to know that hosting a party where alcohol is served to minors is illegal and extremely dangerous," Tarsa said. "Parents should also know they’ll face all legal liabilities."
The department also hopes the buoyed enforcement of drinking laws will reduce "preventable" motor vehicle accidents.
The state officials say the grants have made a significant impact on underage drinking. The number of citations issued declined 41.5 percent between 2007 and 2011, with a similar drop in underage drinking and driving arrests.
"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," Tarsa said.