Underage drinking law enforcement a step in the right direction

For the fifth year in a row, the Bradley University Wellness Program has been awarded the Enforcement of Underage Drinking Laws grant.

In past years, the primary partner in this grant was the Peoria Police Department. In 2010-2011, the Bradley University Police were also a partner, under the direction of former Chief Dave Baer.

Due to the transition to a new Chief of Police during the grant writing process for 2011-2012, the Bradley University Police were no a partner last year. This year, we were fortunate to collaborate with the Bradley University Police again and get the Peoria County Sheriff’s Department on board as well.

Some individuals have expressed concerns that Bradley is “wasting it’s time” with a grant like this because nothing will ever change. Additionally, there are concerns about safety and complaints that Bradley should be focusing more on preventing violence on campus.

First, enforcing underage drinking laws is an evidence-based approach to reducing alcohol abuse among college students.  This means that colleges have done research projects to examine the effect enforcing underage drinking laws has on student drinking – and the result was a reduction in alcohol abuse.  So, this method does work and can make a difference.

Second, this is an overtime grant.  In other words, the money from this grant can only be used to schedule overtime hours for officers. As a result of this grant, more officers will be out during nights and weekends on patrol in an effort to make campus a safer place.

Third, this grant has already helped reduce violence on our campus. In past years, while conducting patrols in the Bradley area, the Peoria Police have apprehended known drug dealers and felons who had warrants out for their arrest.

I understand students’ concern about safety, but let’s use this small grant as a step in the right direction. If you would like more information about the grant, please contact me at lhawkins@bradley.edu.

-Lyndsey Hawkins,

Assistant Director for Alcohol  

Education and Wellness