Local law enforcement taking part in campaign to stop underage drinking

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Stop underage drinking.

It’s a message that will soon be plastered on the back of marked patrol cars where parents, teens and other drivers won't be able to ignore it.

"As parents ride around or they may be at stop light behind a patrol car, they're going to respect what's on the back of a patrol car," said Kevin Green, a commissioner with the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.

The bumper stickers are the newest part of the Talk It Out campaign led by the state's ABC commission.

The goal is to help parents start the uncomfortable conversation with their children about underage drinking.

"It just seemed appropriate right now before school gets started to get this message out there," said Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes.

Barnes helped lead the discussion at a news conference Wednesday.

"The toughest job for any law enforcement officer is to go to a parent's home and tell them their child is dead,” Barnes said. “Nobody wants to do that."

The heads of six other sheriff's departments along with Gibsonville's police chief will take part in the campaign.

"Our goal is to make sure our kids arrive home safely,” Barnes said. “They do not get into accidents and do not die."

Talk It Out was first launched three years ago, using powerful stories from families impacted by underage drinking.

According to the N.C. Department of Transportation, in 2014 Guilford County had six people under the age of 21 suffer alcohol-related deaths.

In 2015, that number dropped to five.

From January through June of 2016, Guilford County has already had four.

"This is something that will not be tackled within a year,” Green said. “This is a problem that has grown for decades."

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