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Today's Question: How effective is the new downtown task force?

Friday, July 17, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

In a effort to curb underage drinking and bar violence, the Columbia Police Department has organized a downtown task force to enter bars and patrol for underage drinking. The new downtown task force consists of mounted officers, a bike patrol and officers on foot.

Police plan to walk through Columbia bars on heavy drinking nights to check IDs for underage drinkers. In the past, Columbia bars have experienced increased problems with underage drinking and violence. Columbia Police Sgt. Lloyd Simons said that bars had a 50 percent failure rate of serving minors. Since implementing a downtown task force, that number is down to 30 percent, Simons said.

However, not all bar owners and patrons agree that this is the solution. With Columbia’s large number of college students, underage drinking is difficult to spot. Fake IDs not caught by a bouncer may lead to increased fines and additional strain on  businesses already facing tough economic times. Bar patrons may feel harassed or skiddish being shoulder-to-shoulder with police on their Friday night.  And despite the decrease in underage drinking, the majority of cases brought to court by the downtown task force have been thrown out for not being conducted according to state regulations.

How effective is the new downtown task force?


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Comments

Charles Dudley Jr July 17, 2009 | 6:47 p.m.

If it helps just one little bit it is all worth while.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking July 18, 2009 | 3:34 a.m.

Well, it depends on what you mean by "helping".

Most of the time, underage drinkers are like any other drinkers - they go out, have a good time (such as it is), and go home and sleep it off. They're not hurting anyone but themselves.

Now if enforcement reaches a point where a lot of underage drinkers don't go to bars, they'll simply have parties in homes or other places, get just as drunk (or drunker - bars at least cut people off), and the bars will lose the revenue they otherwise would have gotten.

I say let 'em drink. Lower the drinking age to 18 (or don't have a minimum at all), and deal with the consequences of the drinking instead, as they would for any other drinker. Expect that they will conduct themselves responsibly, and if they don't, apply the public intox/DWI laws as they would for anyone else.

DK

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr July 18, 2009 | 4:23 a.m.

>>> and deal with the consequences of the drinking instead <<<

Ya drinking and driving from a down town establishment and potentially go cause an accident that could result in a death of someone else.

Great idea dipschlitz!

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking July 18, 2009 | 4:53 a.m.

This behavior is not limited to underage drinkers.

Do you want to make alcohol illegal, Chuck? We tried that, and it didn't work. If people want a substance badly enough, they will get it. Better to let them get it out in the open, where it can at least be somewhat regulated.

DK

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr July 18, 2009 | 10:47 a.m.

Mark Foecking what ever happened to parents teaching their children the hazards of drinking?

Sure kids will experiment but it does not negate the parents responsibility in teaching their children about the hazards does it?

Unless you are campaigning for parents to toss aside their roles as proper educators of the children they sire.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz July 18, 2009 | 11:26 a.m.

If you keep the drinking age at 21, most kids will be out of their parents' houses and running around with their peers instead. How do you think parents will have a chance to teach them about responsible drinking at that point?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr July 18, 2009 | 11:56 a.m.

John Schultz did ya ever think that this kind of education starts at a very young age.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz July 18, 2009 | 1:42 p.m.

A younger child I would teach to stay away from alcohol, an older child I would talk about responsible usage of alcohol. It's what I plan to do with my kids.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr July 18, 2009 | 3:32 p.m.

Best yet John show them the actual wrecked vehicles these under aged kids were pulled out of. Maybe there will still be a lil blood and gore left,even on the windshield and the dash board. Show them videos and pics of actual wrecks too just for the shock effects. Let them know the real realities of the issue not just the candy coated version.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro July 18, 2009 | 7:36 p.m.

As far as I'm concerned the bars would rather serve alcohol to minors, if they could get away with it. It's all about money as far as they're concerned.
As far as I'm concerned, too much alcohol is sold and too much is consumed. Estimates in Columbia are around 20 decent sized AA meetings per week and around 10 Al-Anon weekly meetings. And most problematic, dysfunctional lives never seek help or behavior modification. Yet the cash flow from alcohol sales, and the accessory businesses associated with it, provide big incentives to keep the booze flowing.
Alcohol effects brain chemistry and impacts interpersonal relationships, performance and health.
While I personally believe that MU police should extend their authority to the downtown student drinkers, until then, CPD should intervene with overt problems created by bar patronage.
The Liquor Licensing Commission should also be more involved in "policing" those they issue liquor licenses to and close down businesses which violate liquor laws.

As for why 21 is the "magic" number....

A person’s brain does not stop developing until his or her early to mid-20s and adding alcohol to the mix is a recipe for disaster.
The brain goes through dynamic change during adolescence, and alcohol can seriously damage long- and short-term growth processes. Frontal lobe development and the refinement of pathways and connections continue into the mid-20’s. Damage from alcohol at this time can be long-term and irreversible. (1) In addition, short-term or moderate drinking can impair learning and memory far more in youth than in adults. Adolescents need only drink half as much as adults to suffer the same negative effects. (2)
Here are some quick facts about alcohol use and the developing brain:

source and more...
http://www.why21.org/teen/.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr July 19, 2009 | 4:42 a.m.

ray shapiro what you presented about how Alcohol effects the brain is totally true. This also goes towards illegal drugs but in this Liberal society alot will call you,I and those who talk and present these findings about these grave problems crazy for saying such things.

Ya gotta wonder who the Mentally Impaired really are at this point.

(Report Comment)

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