The Alcohol Law Enforcement Response Team – or, “ALERT,” for short — issued 11 citations to UNC students for alcohol violations early Friday morning.
Charges include underage possession, open container, and consumption of an alcoholic beverage by a person less than 21 years of age.
Lt. Josh Mecimore, a public information officer for the Chapel Hill Police Department, said the citations were issued as part of a regular joint effort between the CHPD, UNC Police and Carrboro Police.
“Throughout the year, that team goes out, typically on dates that we know we have higher incidents of underage drinking.”
He said those include the first week of school; big sporting events; and graduation weekends for both high school and college.
Mecimore said the citations are meant to send a clear message to students, with a serious underlying reason.
“We don’t tolerate underage drinking,” said Mecimore. “And I’ve said in the past that that’s partly because it’s against the law. But an even bigger part is that we historically see all these issues that arise from over-consumption of alcohol, or irresponsible use of alcohol.
“And that’s things ranging from being more likely to be victimized by other people.”
Mecimore added that overconsumption of alcohol can lead to losing one’s ability to pay attention to other people and surroundings. Such inattention can result in crimes such as robbery and sexual assault.
Underage drinking also contributes to an increased number of patients in emergency rooms for alcohol poisoning, and alcohol-related injuries, said Mecimore.
His advice for students of legal drinking age is to stay indoors or on private property while consuming alcohol.
And if you’re underage, just don’t drink.
“We take enforcement actions in those situations,” said Mecimore. “And all of these people will have a court date, where they’ll have to appear in court. It could have some implications in Honor Court as well for folks who are students of UNC, which could affect their academic status.”
Mecimore said he doesn’t know which consequence would be worse for a UNC student, but either way, it’s always better to be responsible.