Zero Tolerance

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Ellie Melero reported in the O’Colly that Oklahoma State University and Stillwater are taking measures to curb under-aged drinking:

Oklahoma State University and the Stillwater community are working together to crack down on underage drinking and substance abuse.

The Payne County Substance Abuse Coalition has partnered with OSU Prevention Programs and local law enforcement for the past five years to help tackle and prevent alcohol and substance abuse that can often happen in college towns.

Chuck Lester, who works for OSU Prevention Programs, led the press conference Tuesday to let students and community members know there will be a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and improper alcohol use.

“We will have some saturation patrols where they’ll be working specifically on enforcing all the alcohol laws so that the expectations are set,” Lester said. “We understand that college can be a time where people drink. The expectation here is that they do it responsibly.”

Capt. Erik Smoot, a representative of the Oklahoma ABLE Commission, emphasized the zero-tolerance policy is for public safety.

“There will be a mass emphasis the first few weeks of school where we’re out,” Smoot said. “We’re enforcing these laws. There is zero tolerance. If these kids are drinking and driving, if these kids are drinking in bars underage, if they’re at these house parties causing problems, they’re going to go to jail for that. It’s all for their safety.” 

One of the goals of the coalition is to put an end to assault and driving under the influence.

“Our goal is that if we do this now, we don’t have as many fatal crashes,” Smoot said. “(And) we don’t have as many incidents on campus that involve alcohol and assaults.”

Alcohol sales are permitted at OSU athletic events but the zero-tolerance policy, according to Melero will still apply.

This year, vendors will sell alcohol at Boone Pickens Stadium during football games. OSUPD isn’t changing its policies toward alcohol misconduct. There will be no leniency on game days.

Sgt. Michael Galbraith, a representative for OSUPD, said the department would continue its enforcement.

“We’ve put together a team of officers that are specifically detailed to look out for underage drinking around the games and throughout the tailgate sections during game days,” Galbraith said. “If they’re underage, they will usually get cited for underage-in-possession, and if they’re inebriated to the point where they can’t control themselves or they can’t take care of themselves, they will be arrested for public intoxication and taken to the county jail.”

Under-aged drinking as a national problem has been recognized by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Its fact sheet states:

Underage drinking is a serious public health problem in the United States. Alcohol is the most widely used substance of abuse among America’s youth, and drinking by young people poses enormous health and safety risks.

The consequences of underage drinking can affect everyone—regardless of age or drinking status. We all feel the effects of the aggressive behavior, property damage, injuries, violence, and deaths that can result from underage drinking. This is not simply a problem for some families—it is a nationwide concern.

 

Oklahoma State University and the Stillwater community are to be commended for the zero-tolerance policy.  For such a program of enforcement of the law to be feasible both the community and campus have recognized that they must work together.

 

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New technologies such as Intellicheck’s Age ID® are making enforcing age restrictions easier than ever.

But alcohol vendors in Oxford, Mississippi have expressed concerns over a new requirement to use such scanners.

From WMC Action News:

When you’re in a college town, everyone knows how to get a fake I.D., and technology can’t keep up.

Tuesday, Oxford city aldermen and Mayor Tannehill heard the concerns of bar and restaurant owners in the proposed downtown entertainment district.

In addition to paying for expensive I.D. scanners, it would also require 11 establishments in and around the court square to install multiple surveillance cameras, hire a security guard for every 50 people that enter a restaurant and bar, and provide detailed safety plans to police.

Most business owners at Tuesday’s meeting said the strict guidelines put them at a distinct disadvantage to other businesses outside the square.

The mayor is open to changes but she’s not willing to back down to making Oxford safe.

“Oxford, Mississippi, is a place where you can come and walk around the square with your family and you can go to bars at closing time and be in a safe environment,” Mayor Tannehill said.

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