MUPD targets Westown: Alcohol reform

The Marquette University Police Department has cracked down on underage drinking including patrolling local liquor stores with undercover police.

Westown Market Liquor Store was one of the main targets for MUPD. “We set up some undercover officers at several stores and found that several students were not even getting carded,” MUPD Capt. Jeff Kranz said.

A Westown employee who refused to give his name confirmed the liquor store was sanctioned and warned by MUPD, but did not specify as to how much the store got fined.

“Students got their fake IDs taken, but we also got a penalty from the Marquette Police,” he said. The employee declined to comment further on the situation.

According to the Kranz, students manage to get their hands on alcohol one way or another.

“We’ve stepped up our educational efforts in the area of alcohol,” Kranz said. “We have started to patrol local liquor stores that have been selling to underage students.”

An underage student, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of being fined by MUPD, said “Westown is a place where students always used to go for their alcohol because they were never carded. However, Westown has been much more assertive in asking for IDs since the sanctions were imposed on them.”

MUPD also plans to monitor other areas an enforce open container laws.

“This was only one step in trying to make sure that our students behave responsibly,” Kranz added. “Part two has been working on maintaining control at the parties that have been getting too large.”

Officers stop students with open containers on the street because it is a violation of city ordinance.

“We issued warnings as to what students could expect to face as a potential fine if they continued walking the streets with open containers,” Kranz said. “Officers would hand out actual fines if there were repeat offenders acting carelessly.”

Kranz said its not difficult to differentiate between a citation and a warning, if a student is acting “out of hand” they will be ticketed.

“Each stop is different. If a student is trying to be deceptive with an officer, a ticket will most likely be handed out,” Kranz said.

“Ultimately, we don’t want students to be acutely intoxicated. A lot of times we will have officers needing to assist students to hospitals because they get so drunk to the point where they cannot handle themselves,” Kranz said. “We want you guys (students) to have fun, but safe fun.”

Marquette University has a strict no-drinking policy: “Marquette is committed to establishing a comprehensive program to prevent the unlawful use, possession or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol. The following information is provided in compliance with the Drug-free Schools and Communities Act.”

MUPD believes by cracking down on liquor stores and giving warnings to students about underage drinking and open container laws, they will be able to decrease the number of acute intoxications.