Prom night is all about firsts. The first time he sees your special sense of glam, the first time she sees you all ‘tuxed’ up, and ultimately, the first time your classmates see your chauffeur open the door of your limousine and usher you and your date out to your red carpet prom. One group of teens arriving at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, N.Y. last year may have missed out on their white glove chauffeur service. The entrance to their prom was stationed by law enforcement. Here is what you might expect if the entrance to your prom also doubles as a police checkpoint.
When your limo drives down the picturesque, tree-lined driveway of the Crest Hollow Country Club, you will not mistake police presence. Your chauffeur is likely to be stopped by a police officer with Consumer Affairs, now the Nassau County Taxi and Limousine Commission, and directed to a gaggle of officers underneath the portico. You may have been briefed about the dangers and consequences of underage drinking on prom night, but you may not have been warned that your chauffeur could be too busy being questioned by officers to open your door, let you out of your limo or party bus, or that you could be subject to questioning in the investigation of your chauffeur.
Who booked your limo? Where did you get picked up at? Where are you going after you leave? These are some questions that you are likely to be asked. It is puzzling that asking these questions of your parents, the chauffeur, and the limo company would not be simpler and less disruptive than asking you. “Children have to be questioned to find out who booked the ride,” says Commissioner Gregory May of Nassau County Taxi & Limousine Commission. Is that their only motive? “Typically, when dealing with students, an officer is more than anything checking for illegal activity such as drug or alcohol usage,” says Joe Guinn, owner of the Texas-based company, Limo & Bus Compliance.
This type of pre-prom policing can affect your prom. “It comes off as a form of harassment to passengers and drivers,” says Jim Luff, CEO of the Limousine Scene with offices in Bakersfield, Calif. and Houston, Texas and feature writer and consultant at Limousine Charter and Tour (LCT) Magazine. He reasons that prom goers who drive themselves or arrive by other means are not subject to being stopped or their grand entrance being delayed.
Commissioner May says that police presence at prom entrances is for the “safety of students to ensure that they are being transported in properly licensed vehicles.” While his commission is sensitive to the disruption that their policing of chauffeurs may have on your arrival to prom, “they are only at a prom on the request of the venue or the school,” explains May. Calls and emails to the Director of Sales and Banquets at Crest Hollow went unreturned. Other proms that we observed at Jericho Terrace, Mineola, N.Y. and North Ritz Club, Syosset, N.Y., did not have police presence. Police questioning as soon as you step out of the limousine in the course of licensing enforcement with your chauffeur may taint prom memories, cause worry about how you might get home, and distract from the fun of it all thinks Luff.
It does not have to be that way. Imagine the officers dressed for the occasion. They could trade in their police blues for an Ike Behar Evening Navy 2-button Notch Tuxedo Slim Fit or a Colors Dress evening gown in the same hue. Perhaps the chauffeur could get out of the limo, open your door, and allow you to get unobstructed pictures in front of your limo before officers swoop down. Then, the chauffeur pulls off to be questioned in another area away from the main entrance. You might enjoy your grand entrance much more if you were only questioned in the event that the police could not get information from your parents, the chauffeur, limo company, or actual contract. For the school’s part, it might make you feel supported if the prom coordinator or other school official were present during questioning, in the absence of your parents, until every one of your classmates has made their first grand entrance at prom.