LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Police should focus less on giving MIP citations

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 | 10:43 a.m. CDT

I am writing to respond to a recent article in the Missourian entitled "City manager, police chief announce gloomy findings of department review."

As an undergraduate student who only recently turned 21, I have a unique perspective on the issue of law enforcement in Columbia. I am not surprised to find that there are so many internal problems within the police department; it shows in the way the officers conduct themselves.

The police go far beyond promoting the safety of those under the influence, as demonstrated when they stop students under the influence who are safely walking home on campus and penalize students who are obtaining sober rides home, and give them all minor-in-possession tickets.

The students of Columbia's colleges, especially MU, are the lifeblood of the community, and the police are making it a very unpleasant place for them to live. The air of the officers' actions is not one of hoping to eradicate underage drinking — which will never happen — but of overgrown bullies hoping to be able to say "nanner nanner boo boo!" in the faces of the randomly chosen underage drinkers they target on any given night. I believe this is the "supervisory culture" the article references.

Perhaps due to the training and organization problems mentioned in the article, the police simply have nothing better to do. Yet there is something better for them to do: Keep our citizens safe from the real dangers of college life, namely drunk drivers and predators on campus late at night. Stop penalizing drunk minors attempting to avoid these dangers by getting sober rides home. Find a new source of funds that doesn't involve handing out MIPs like candy.

Lisa Korte is an MU student.

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Steve Baumann March 14, 2012 | 1:25 p.m.

I'm all for the MIP citations and applaud the department for giving them out.

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble March 14, 2012 | 2:27 p.m.

So long as MIP is part of the law, it's hard to fault enforcement of the law. This reminds me of the thought I have at times when I'm being tailgated while driving the speed limit: "If you don't like the speed limit, don't make it my problem - go talk to the city about changing it." But first consider there may be a rationale for it.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor March 14, 2012 | 3:20 p.m.

Kevin touched on the irony at the end of his post. Maybe, just maybe, the officers ARE actually helping to protect you from predators by letting you know it is not o.k. to be a minor walking around trashed. Maybe, just maybe, you present yourself as a target as you stumble through campus late at night...

I can't help but to think about my favorite Ron White joke. (and this means, "you can't fix stupid" and "I had the right to remain silent, but I didn't have the ability" didn't make the top honor... He was found stumbling in the street by an officer who busted him for being drunk in public. His defense was he got drunk in a bar, but when the bar kicked him out for being too drunk, they threw him in to public. (so, it's "their" fault for throwing me in to public and not my fault for getting drunk in the first place. See where this is going Lisa?)

I am going to go out on a limb, albeit a short one, and say that more underage students at the Columbia Colleges end up in the hospital or dead due to drinking than due to predators. Sometimes the danger is right under your nose, but you don't have the life experience to recognize it yet.

(Report Comment)
James Krewson March 14, 2012 | 3:29 p.m.

What is so difficult about leaving the booze at the party? Why are you placing the burden on the officer who is simply upholding the law. Do us a favor and simply either wait until you are 21, or be smart enough to leave the alcohol at the party. Remember, that since you are are still a MINOR, your parent's can be held responsible for your actions.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking March 14, 2012 | 4:17 p.m.

James, I believe the law deems a minor "in possession" if he is drunk even if he doesn't have any alcohol on him. The whole issue is the drinking age. Unfortunately, many states tried lowering the drinking age in the '70s, and had enough problems that they wound up raising it back to 21 again.


(Report Comment)
Ken Geringer March 14, 2012 | 5:11 p.m.

I think the author's point is that what he terms MIP citations are a poor use of the police power. I agree. Of course, if you are under the statuatory age, a political determination, you are a dope for walking around with booze. 30000 voters could go a long way to taking over this town.

(Report Comment)

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