New Alcohol Initiatives On Indiana Campuses

Periodically Indiana law enforcement authorities ramp up efforts on college campuses within Indiana to address the proliferation of underage drinking. However, through the years there has frequently been little coordination between respective Indiana colleges as to the resources, effort and/or attention that will be devoted to these issues. Depending upon the particular educational institution, the allowance for alcohol or other disorderly type of criminal offense to go undetected varied from location and time of year. From the perspective of a defense attorney, this reality would often dictate the expected focus of my attention toward the legal protection of those within some institutions more than others.

For example, during the homecoming season at Indiana University, I can almost predict like clockwork the amount of calls I will be receiving from students and/or their concerned parents as to all alcohol or drug related offenses during this fateful time period. Unlike the above referenced predictability of alcohol/drug related arrests dependent upon time and location, a recently announced initiative of the Indiana State Excise Police is attempting to coordinate alcohol apprehension and enforcement efforts among all state colleges deemed worthy of a more intensified focus. Labeled the “Intensified College Enforcement Program,” the new initiative has initially been directed at the student populations on the campuses of seven Indiana universities including, Ball State, Butler, Purdue, Indiana State University, Notre Dame, DePauw and Indiana University.

This intensified enforcement program has been pitched as a way to alter the behavior of college students or those frequenting college campuses as the behavior relates to underage drinking and its potential criminal prosecution. Originally begun at Depauw, Purdue and Indiana University in February, the program has predictably expanded to the other named institutions. Such programs are extremely fertile ground for the efforts at law enforcement as a major source of revenue stemming from the arrest or summonsing of large numbers of youth within a limited area. As many citations for court involve the ticketing of individuals ordered to appear in criminal court, administrative paperwork efforts at processing those charged have been eliminated allowing for police to focus on issuing as many citations as available time and resources allow.

Law enforcement authorities have stated that they will not know the success of such a program for a few years down the road. I would suggest that due to the ambiguous nature of how success is defined, the general public will learn relatively little as to the benefits of such efforts. For example, if arrests or citations are down, the programs in question will be lauded. If statewide revenue is needed, law enforcement will step up to fill the void with statistics indicating a rise in whatever category of youth related criminal misconduct is required.

In this fall season please be aware of these law enforcement efforts specifically as related to enforcement on the aforementioned college campuses. From an initial inquiry as to alcohol related consumption it is inevitable that the pursuit of youth who are tailed getting into vehicles will surely follow. It is then that we will learn of law enforcement’s upcoming follow up program dealing with the apprehension of drunk drivers on the campuses of these same college institutions.