Underage drinking enforcement increased throughout Lawrence for fall
- Sep. 19, 2012
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More efforts than usual are underway to catch underage students drinking and students drinking irresponsibly during upcoming weekends.
The Fake ID 101 Task Force conducted its first operation of the semester last Friday, and the Lawrence Police Department has dedicated a shift to game day enforcement and plans to continue its alcohol enforcement.
The operation targeted bars, liquor and convenience stores. The Task Force made contact with 37 people and issued 14 criminal charges. Kansas Alcoholic and Beverage Control issued three administrative citations to Bullwinkle’s Bar, The Jayhawk Café and The Wheel.
“We’re trying to turn the page and change the norm,” Jen Jordan, director of prevention at Douglas County Citizens Committee on Alcoholism, said of the Task Force. “But this generation of students have really been a tough nut to crack.”
The Task Force includes officers from Kansas Alcoholic and Beverage Control, Lawrence Police Department, KU Department of Public Safety and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
The LPD is continuing additional efforts of its own to curb and control drinking this fall.
“It is safe to say that we are doing more enforcement than we usually do this time of year,” said Trent McKinley, LPD spokesman. “The alcohol seems to be more ramped up this year.”
Since the first weekend of the school year, LPD has conducted alcohol enforcement every weekend. McKinley said the many of the responses made by LPD during the weekend involve alcohol in some way.
“Most every disturbance call, most serious accidents that we’ve seen, they all have some kind of alcohol component,” McKinley said.
A specific LPD game day shift may also result in more students cited for alcohol violations. The department is dedicating 14 officers to patrol and respond to calls around the area surrounding the stadium.
McKinley said the specific shift contains officers from various departments working overtime, and it is intended to put less strain on the department on game days and throughout the week.
“If there are no calls for service, we expect our officers to be productive,” McKinley said. “And that’s usually when they start looking for the alcohol or making traffic citations.”
But for students like Ryan Guetzkl, a senior from Olathe, the efforts don’t seem worthwhile if they aren’t affecting everyone.
“Underage drinking is not anything to condone, but I feel like, depending on how bad the ticket is, it can ruin a lot,” Guetzkl said. “And if everyone’s doing it, it’s not really fair.”
McKinley acknowledged there is no way to catch everyone but said until things slow down, their efforts will most likely continue.
“Usually we see it level off after a few weeks of enforcement and people change their behavior,” McKinley said. “We aren’t seeing that yet, and as long as there is a need for it and we have the resources for it, it’ll continue.”
— Edited by Laken Rapier