By Devon Wilkinson
Having a fake I.D. is illegal; there is no question about that. However, some laws just come off less serious than others. Underage drinking is one of those laws. It has become such a normality on college campus’s the act in itself almost seems like a concrete part of the college experience. Sometimes it is easy to forget that drinking under 21 is against the law and breaking it can lead a person in jail or a hefty fine.
Public Information Officer, Lieutenant Cheeks from the High Point Police Department comments on the issue. “Underage drinking has increasingly become an issue and we as a law enforcement agency simply want our college population to have a safe and responsible college experience.”
According to an article written by Julia A. Martinez, found on the U.S. National Library of Medicines, “Heavy drinking is pervasive in college, with 42% of students in a nationally representative sample reporting having had five or more drinks in a sitting within 2 weeks in 2004, a prevalence rate that has not much changed over the last 25 years.“ It is no secret that, a good number of college students find themselves consuming alcohol on a weekly basis. Because HPU doesn’t have its own police force, any incident that involves HPU students, regardless of their status as a victim or offender, the incident will be investigated by the High Point Police Department. Because of this, the rules will be enforced more and less forgiveness will be given.
With the advancement in technology over the years, obtaining a fake ID is becoming increasingly easier. “We used to deal with a few students from time to time using fake ID’s or trading ID’s with an older classmate now we have students organizing online orders of ID’s for multiple students, we have people with printers capable of producing fake ID’s which enhances the problem and demonstrates to us the need to both educate and enforce,” says Cheeks. “Despite legal restrictions of on-premise and off-premise alcohol sales to minors, 51% of underage college students reported that they thought alcohol was “very easy” to obtain and 18% reported that they used false identification (fake ID) for the purpose of obtaining alcohol,” (Martinez web).
“We are not and have no desire to be the party police, but the results of underage consumption, or over-consumption is what we are concerned with.” Lt. Cheeks continue, “something that I think HPU students should keep in mind is that they have a line of defense that they often ignore which leads to police involvement, which is campus security.”
No one can deny the dangerous possibilities that come with consuming alcohol but should this be a top concern considering other issues going on in the city. According to recent news articles and comments made by the HPPD, the number heroin overdoses within the community of High Point are increasing year to year. Regardless of this, Lt. Cheeks insures this issue is a top concern. “Our Detectives have been busy with other task but cannot and will not ignore clear intentional violations of the law that affect safety. As a matter of fact, they did not start this particular enforcement until last week. ABC Enforcement Officers have taught over 10 hours on alcohol awareness and fake ID’s, but our fake ID arrests are still on the rise.”
Students take warning if you lose your wallet and it is turned into security, security has the right to go through it. If a form of fake identification is found, the HPPD will be called and you will be arrested. No exceptions. “In speaking with our detectives 100% of all fake ID’S that ABC Detectives have seized in the last 2 years have been HPU students. From May 31st-Aug 15th we have zero issues with fake ID’s,” says Cheeks.
ABC Enforcement Detectives have reached out to RA’S, RD’S and sororities and fraternities in the last few weeks. The HPPD has offered to collect any fake ID’s without prosecution. Basically, there will be an immunity box placed in various locations around campus where students can place their fake ID’s to be destroyed, no questions asked. At the time of this interview, zero ID’s have been collected.
In defense of the strict views upheld by the HPPD regarding alcohol consumption and fake ID’s, Lt. Cheeks asks HPU students to remember this, “The most difficult task associated with this job is having to notify someone that they have a loved one that has been injured or worse, regardless of the circumstances. Imagine having to make that call to a parent, we always ask ourselves a police department what could we have done to prevent this from happening.”
We are not and have no desire to be the party police, but the results of underage consumption, or over-consumption is what we are concerned with.