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Rave Heart

Sheriff's departments across Colorado choose not to remain silent about raves.

Jefferson County

"To my knowledge, at least to date, we haven't had a lot of experience with raves in Jefferson County. The problem [with raves] is that they usually try to set them up without the ticket buyers even knowing the date or time of event, then posting it on a Web site. Our current posture toward raves is that we're not going to change our approach from any other large gathering. When it becomes a problem, where law enforcement has to intervene, we will do so.

"If there was to be one in Jefferson County, I would guess that our intelligence people from our task force would probably put a couple of people out there in plainclothes, undercover, at the actual location where the party was happening, to be able to gauge what was going on. We would probably have an extra patrol of one or two units that wasn't necessarily at the site, but we would make them aware that there was a special emphasis on this event. So we could know what the heck is going on. I mean, if someone was having a wedding in the middle of nowhere with 500 people, we wouldn't care. But part and parcel to the rave scene is that you've got like 500 people and it could escalate into a really bad problem. If you look at the Web sites for some of these things, they put up the red flags themselves. Talking about large groups of people [attending], and they're not putting the date out, so that law enforcement doesn't know where they are going on. That leads the reasonable officer to want to know what is going on. We want to know just what the heck is going on." -- Lieutenant Phil Dominico, Jefferson County Sheriff's Department

Larimer County

"My objection to the raves that were happening was the large amount of narcotic activity -- GBH, ecstasy. Combine that with the age of the ravees, and it causes great concern. Everyone has the right to dance and listen to music and have a good time. But the narcotic situation seems to be a big part of it, and the age of the attendees is a problem. My concern over raves is basically just public-safety issues: What are you going to do for parking? What sort of health facilities are available? A lot of the youngsters that attend these things become dehydrated from dancing. And if you're thirty miles up a canyon or somewhere in the middle of nowhere, how do you get help?

"We had the Bongathan out here -- remember that? Yeah, that was my county, too. And we tried to send a message then that we do not like this type of illegal activity. If you want to come up here and have a clean party, a fun party, fine. Work with us. But I am against the underground nature of these things. The way they don't notify these people of these events until the day of, it's because they anticipate a lot of illegal activity and don't want law enforcement present. Well, I'm going to be present, and I'm going to stop it." -- Sheriff James A. Alderden

Angela Harris contributed to this story.

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