UT police issue increased citations for underage drinking

UT police issue more citations for underage drinking than in years past

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By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - After an increased number of alcohol-related incidents at the University of Tennessee, its police department is working to keep students safer.

UT police say there have been an increased number of citations issued for underage drinking and an increase in the number of medical issues involving alcohol, compared to last year.

"When I see reports of people being injured because of over-consumption or neglect in care because people involved were underage, than I'm going to ask my folks to start addressing that issue and keep an eye on it, which is going to result in more citations and arrests," said new UT Police Chief Troy Lane.

This is Chief Lane's first year at UT.

He said he wouldn't call this a crackdown, but his officers are enforcing the strict no drinking policy on Fraternity Row.

"I've encouraged my folks, if you see a violation and you have probable cause to make an arrest, write a citation, then do it," Chief Lane said.

In 2010 between August 1 and Sept. 19, UT police issued just one citation for underage drinking. In 2011, officers issued 12. However, this year they've already issued 43 tickets since August.

Associate Dean of Students Jeff Cathey says an increase in alcohol violations at the start of the year is common, but a renewed effort between Greek leaders and school officials is underway.

"What we've said to fraternities is, they cannot be a source of that alcohol and since we've documented a few incidents in these first three weeks it was important for us to circle up with them, to make sure they're focused on helping us maintain a safe environment on campus," Cathey said.

And the fraternities say they understand the school's position, and they're working to cooperate.

 "It's important to make sure our new members are educated and making sure those guys that are new to campus know how we work here. We're definitely moving in the right direction, and we'll continue to work with the university on that," said Josh Baxter, president of the Interfraternity Council and a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon.

After football games is a key time police are looking to enforce the rules. They conduct walk-throughs of every fraternity house after the games.

Following the Georgia State game, they issued 16 citations. After the Florida game, they issued zero. They hope that trend continues during this weekend's game against Akron.

Last week, the fraternity presidents met with school officials and UT police. The Interfraternity Council will meet Thursday night to continue discussing how they'll comply with law enforcement.

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