Police plan crackdown on underage drinking

By the

January 18, 2001

The Metropolitan Police Department plans a fresh crackdown on underage drinking at local bars, according to a report in the George Washington Hatchet.

The Hatchet reported that undercover officers will begin posing as bouncers in local bars and will use scanners in an attempt to identify fake IDs.

The effort has developed out of an initiative called D.C. Cares, an effort to combat underage drinking. Founded last year at Catholic University, D.C. CARES holds regular meetings of administrators and officers from universities around the district. Metropolitan Police Chief Charles Ramsey got involved with the group after the death of David Schick (MSB ‘01) in an alcohol-related fight last February.

Jeanne Lord, Director of Off-Campus Student Affairs, said the University works closely with police officers in Georgetown’s district but has not been contacted about the crackdown.

“I have checked in several places and I can’t get any confirmation of the reports [the Voice] received about MPD going undercover,” Lord said, “However I did get the distinct feeling that there is going to be a crackdown on underage drinking in the next few weeks.”

Neither the Metropolitan Police Department nor Lt. Patrick Burke, the officer reportedly in charge of the crackdown, returned several phone calls placed this week.

Darryl Harrison, Assistant Director of Public Safety, did not say whether DPS was in contact with the Metropolitan Police Department about the crackdown.

“We have ongoing discussion with Metro on a number of issues,” he said. “Underage drinking has been a big issue since the beginning of the school year.”

According to the Student Code of Conduct, students can be subject to disciplinary hearings for their off-campus behavior. Lord and Harrison said that Georgetown receives information about arrested Georgetown students each week from the Metropolitan police.

Learning which students were arrested helps Georgetown to identify problem drinkers and allows the school to take disciplinary action if it’s warranted, Lord said. Another reason Georgetown requests student names from the MPD is to be aware of problems that could affect community relations.

“The community gets [the names of arrested students]. If they’re going to get it, we need to have it,” she said.

Often, the lists of arrests sent to Georgetown by the District police are inaccurate, according to Lord. Many of the names the District police send to Georgetown are not Georgetown students. A list dated 12/9/00 from the MPD listed three individuals arrested for alcohol violations as Georgetown students. When the Office of Student Affairs checked the names from MPD against Georgetown records, they determined that none of the individuals actually attended Georgetown.

Last year, the District of Columbia passed an emergency act which increased the punishment for alcohol offenses to $300 and up to ninety days in jail. The Alcohol Board of Control, the group in charge of monitoring the sale of alcohol in the District, has also increased its on- site evaluation of establishments with permits to serve alcohol.

Until recently, the ABC had no employees who worked at night.

“We’ve seen the ABC send in more kids who attempt to purchase alcohol [illegally],” a manager at Chadwick’s, a local restaurant and bar, said. The manager declined to give his name.

“The only protection we have is to make sure the bartenders rigourously check ID’s,” he said.

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