LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 1, 2009) -- As University of Kentucky students stream into Lexington for the start of the fall semester, Mayor Jim Newberry and the Lexington Division of Police and UK Police are working to ensure their safety through an educational campaign and stepped up enforcement targeting underage drinking and driving under the influence.
“We welcome our students and want them to enjoy Lexington and their years in college, but we also want them to be safe,” Newberry said. “Students need to understand that our undercover and uniformed police officers will be on the streets, in their neighborhoods and at the businesses they frequent enforcing laws concerning alcohol.”
Newberry said Lexington offers students a wide variety of opportunities for entertainment and he encouraged them to enjoy the community. “We just want our students to make safety a priority,” he said.
"The purpose behind the special detail is to educate the students in being responsible when engaging in drinking alcohol," said UK Interim Police Chief Joe Monroe. "The detail is a collaborative effort between the UK Police and the Lexington Police to target underage drinking and those who engage in violations of the law that cause disruption to the campus community. This partnership is in its third year, and we feel like we are beginning to see an improvement in the behavior of the students who live just off the campus through this educational campaign."
Undercover police officers have cited 11 different businesses recently for selling alcohol to minors. “That’s pretty high. We visited 44 different businesses around Lexington and cited 25 percent of them,” Sgt. Jason Parks said. Officers can cite the salesclerk and the business owner. Newberry said it is very important for local businesses to understand that the laws concerning the sale of alcohol to minors will be strictly enforced.
To combat underage drinking, police last week began a stepped up enforcement effort that combines undercover enforcement with high visibility public awareness through advertising and publicity.
Recently, Lexington police, working with UK police, the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, the city Division of Code Enforcement and the Division of Streets, Roads and Forestry, began a door-to-door educational campaign, distributing information on a variety of issues to 1,500 houses in the neighborhoods surrounding the UK campus. Among other topics, students were provided information about alcohol violations including drinking alcoholic beverages in public, underage drinking, permitting underage drinking and public intoxication.