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State grant targets underage drinking

A grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation is helping local law enforcement better target underage drinking.

A grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation is helping local law enforcement better target underage drinking.

The Pitt State Fake ID Coalition is comprised of officers from the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department, the Kansas Highway Patrol, Kansas Alcoholic Beverage Control and the Pittsburg State University and City of Pittsburg police departments.

The grant provides funding for retailer and law enforcement training as well as targeted enforcement of the laws against underage drinking.

“It’s about education as much as enforcement,” said Mike McCracken, director of PSU police. “Alcohol is one of the most abused substances by underage youth in our nation. If we can help retailers better spot fake IDs and better inform the public about the dangers of underage drinking, we can help stop a lot of the problems before they occur.”

Underage alcohol consumption, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is responsible for more than 4,300 annual deaths among underage youth. It’s estimated that 90 percent of underage drinking takes place in the form of binge drinking.

To help combat those statistics the grant provides funding for targeted enforcement of the laws against underage drinking.

“It allows us to have additional patrols on campus and area neighborhoods as well as in local retail stores,” said McCracken. “Coalition members monitored local stores and our game-day environment this past weekend to ensure community and campus members were following the law.”

Coalition members issued 11 citations for alcohol related violations and checked more than 100 IDs.

“The results were encouraging,” McCracken said. “Especially when you consider the large crowds we have in town on game day. Even so, it demonstrates the need for this type of enforcement. We want people to have a great time but to do so safely and legally.”

The Pitt State Fake ID Coalition intends to conduct similar enforcement and to continue its educational training through the month of October.

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