A grant first received by Middletown Police Department (MPD) in 2006 to fund a crackdown on underage drinking has been renewed for another year.
The grant comes from the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services through the Rushford Center, a substance abuse and mental health provider in Connecticut. It will continue to be used to fund police efforts to reduce underage drinking, including checking IDs at bars, exploring ways to decrease underage drinking at house parties, and apprehending drunk drivers.
According to MPD Chief Patrick McMahon, the grant is not specifically intended to reduce underage drinking among University students.
“A lot of this [grant] will be used more towards the high school kids,” said Director of Public Safety Dave Meyer. “But I’m sure somewhere along the line Wesleyan will become involved.”
According to Meyer, there are no concrete plans for increased MPD presence on campus or changes in PSafe’s approaches to enforcing underage drinking laws.
“It won’t affect what we do,” Meyer said.
Consequences for students who are caught drinking underage or providing alcohol to underage students can be quite serious, according to Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) president Michael Pernick.
“If you’re found drinking underage, you are subject to a non-custodial arrest,” Pernick said. “It’s a big deal, you have to go to court, potentially hire a lawyer. It’s not something to be taken lightly. Our worst case situation is if a large number of Wesleyan students have to deal with this. I hope students can be educated enough to make safe choices.”