Editorial: Police initiative ambitious, could control drunkenness

What can be said about drinking?

It’s one of those timeless college stereotypes that neve goes away and invades the minds of people looking for any sort of cheap shot at students regardless of one’s drinking habits.

Standing on the corner of Fourth Street and Lincoln Avenue on a Friday or Saturday night gives one a proper image of how integral alcohol and partying are to many students at Eastern.

Up and down the sidewalks they stagger, sometimes stopping to go into a house party or yell at someone whose existence is debatable.

It’s fun for some – particularly those directly involved – but to others, hordes of students traversing through Charleston bringing attention on themselves wherever they go can be a public nuisance.

In an effort to better serve those annoyed by the debauchery, the Illinois Department of Human Services awarded Eastern’s Health Education Resource Center a grant worth $100,000 to combat underage drinking.

The Charleston Police will be given $30,000, which will be put toward efforts that will not only increase the number of patrol officers, but will also allow the department to better crack down on businesses that provide alcohol to minors and set up alcohol compliance checks.

What Eastern and Charleston aim for goes far beyond educational measures such as AlcoholEdu.

But how effective will it be?

Eastern and the Charleston Police should combat underage drinking, and the new measures being taken are with the best intentions, no doubt.

But realistically, no matter what measures are taken, underage students are always going to find ways to get booze.

Unfortunate as it is, underage drinkers will always find a way around the law.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

For now, police should focus on those individuals who are causing problems, such as the people who pick fights outside house parties or the large groups walking through residential areas screaming obscenities.

Instances such as these should be placed at the top of the police’s priorities, taking precedent above everything else.

After that, start targeting methods of acquisition and the businesses responsible. Underage drinking will never be eradicated, but it can be controlled in a manner that will greatly benefit the community.

The editorial is the majority opinion of The DEN editorial board. Reach the opinions editor at: [email protected].