Oxford Police aim to curb underage drinking

OXFORD, OH (FOX19) - The Oxford Police Department is trying to crack down on underage drinking at Miami.

The police just finished up a month long initiative where they sent underage drinkers to jail overnight. Now they're in the process of evaluating if it's worth continuing.

The initiative started at the beginning of the school year. After about four weeks, Oxford Police sent more than 40 underage drinkers for an overnight stay at the Butler County Jail.

Sergeant Jon Varley agrees underage drinking is a problem on many college campuses. However, Varley says that the initiative is striving to prevent other crimes that happen when Miami students are drunk.

"People's cars being damaged just because they happen to be parked on the side of the road, DUI's, assaults and stuff like that. We've always been plagued with those types of problems," explained Varley.

Varley says in the past, the police department would usually issue a citation and release the underage drinker to a sober friend. However, too many times police found that same individuals out later that night. Freshman Taylor Wood says that a trip to jail would have an impact on 'some' kids.

"It puts you a little bit more on edge if someone is trying to obtain a drink at the Brick, or whatever," said Wood. "But college students want to have fun. So knowing Miami students, they'll probably outweigh the risk and go with the fun."

Some students think this plan is too harsh and that there are alternatives out there.

"It seems really strict," explains Jesse Via. "I guess they want to scare the kids into not drinking."

Varley says they have to be aggressive with this kind of problem but now they're trying to figure out if the method is worth time, money and resources to teach these students a lesson.

"We have to be very proactive with this," said Varley. "Otherwise things could easily get out of control."

"If I ever had a drink and I was underage and I was arrested I wouldn't hold it against them, it's their job," explained Wood. "They're doing what they need to do to keep the students here at Miami safe."

Sergeant Varley says it can take anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes to take someone to the Butler County Jail. Often times, that's happening during peak enforcement hours. Varley says if they don't find the initiative to be a success, they will not bring it back.

The Oxford Police Department says the earliest they plan to reinstate the initiative is sometime next semester.

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