Excise police study finds not all alcohol vendors ID customers

Senior Spanish education major Jennifer Rusher said she remembered the first time she used her fake ID to get into a bar.

"I was very nervous at first," she said. "But after I saw there was no problem, I kept going."

Rusher said sometimes she was asked for an ID. However, not all establishments verify the age of their clients.

Indiana State Excise Police, the law enforcement division of the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, created the Survey of Alcohol Compliance in 2007, an inspection in which police officers hire decoys of ages 18 - 20 to go to an establishment and try to purchase alcohol.

The purpose of the survey is to find out how many establishments sell alcohol without asking for an ID.

According to an article from the Associated Press, officers found more than 370 violations across the state in three months.

However, most Delaware county establishments were found to be following the process of asking for a valid ID before handing out alcohol.

According to a report from the excise police headquarters, as of Oct. 28, two out of 23 establishments in Delaware County failed the examination.

Jennifer Fults, media relations officer for the Indiana State Excise Police, said the survey is made almost on a daily basis.

"We visited all alcohol establishments," she said. "For a minor buying alcohol, it is a class C misdemeanor and carries a maximum fine of up to $500 and 60 days in jail."

Fults said the maximum penalty for an establishment caught selling alcohol to a minor is a $1,000 fine.

Sophomore business administration major Jill Sandberg said she didn't think penalties are harsh enough to make an establishment stop selling to minors.

"Even though they get fined, they get more profit off of selling," Sandberg said. "I don't think it will make a difference."

At Ball State University, the penalties for possession of alcohol by a minor mean hours of alcohol and drug abuse education, community service projects or suspension from the university.

Alcohol education coordinator Anna Lamb said the university has many programs students are sent to if they're caught consuming alcohol while underage.

The most popular programs are AlcoholEDU, which happens through a computer program called BASICS in which students can meet with counselors to discuss responsible consumption of alcohol, and Court Offences, in which students meet in group sessions for six weeks, Lamb said.

The university also holds programs to educate students about the risks of consuming.

Director of Public Safety Gene Burton said Ball State is trying to help students learn about the effects.

"Health education makes sure the information is out there so students understand alcohol and its effects," he said. "I don't see lack of effort from the university to promote awareness."

Lamb said students can also get help through individual counselors. She said students should seek help if they think their drinking is out of control.

"Most students get their first ticket and change something," she said. "The person that gets more tickets after their first one has a problem."


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