Mixed reviews for underage college drinking crackdown

Police continue efforts to curb underage drinking

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana Excise Police have been cracking down on underage drinking on college campuses across the state.

The effort, called Intensified College Enforcement -- ICE, for short -- is underway on six Indiana campuses.

"The issue of this is public safety," said Bill Turner, one of the Indiana Excise Police officers cracking down on underage drinking and public intoxication on Indiana's college campuses. "One of the things we're seeing, we're still seeing incredibly high blood alcohol levels, .25, .26. They're at a high enough level they actually have to be taken to the hospital."

There's speculation as to why that's happening. Quite possibly, it's because students are choosing liquor over beer.

When comparing September of last year to this September, excise police issued more than twice the number of citations at IU, from 159 to 366. The bulk of those are for illegal consumption and possession of alcohol.

"We'd love to see a change in behavior where we aren't running into the binge drinking," Turner said.

But some people think the crackdown could actually exacerbate the problem.

"By cracking down they're going to want to drink more," said IU student Bang Co. "They're going to want to do (break) the rules and all that. They're in college… being rebellious."

That's not exactly what parents like Dave Lamping want to hear. He has two kids that are IU students.

"I know how college is," Lamping said. "We were college students. However as a parent now, I want the rules upheld. I really don't have a problem with that."

Some worry the concerted effort to cite underage drinkers could backfire by putting students in risky situations just to avoid getting a ticket.

"You should be less afraid of getting caught than you should of getting hurt, so I think they should find a good balance so you're not afraid to go back to your place or get a safe ride so you don't do anything stupid," said student Tom Lamping.

The six schools included in the ICE initiative are IU, Notre Dame, Ball State, Purdue, Indiana State and Butler. 

IU has received the most citations so far, followed by Notre Dame and Purdue.

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