The same State Police division that cited more than 30 students at Spring Fling parties in April patrolled the Made in America music festival last weekend, issuing nearly 40 citations to minors under the age of 21 over the two-day event.
Among the citations, officers cited three for possession of false identification and several others for summary disorderly conduct. The Philadelphia Police Department also confirmed that they made several arrests for disorderly conduct.
Those cited by the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement were escorted from the event by security, according to a BLCE press release.
A group of BLCE officers, outfitted in blue polo shirts and stationed mainly near the central food stands at the festival, asked patrons who were seen consuming alcohol to produce proof of their age throughout the weekend. While undercover officers were present at the event, all those who issued citations were in uniform, Dan Steele, the district commander of the BLCE, said.
Officers were authorized to ask for proof of age from anyone consuming alcohol who appeared “youthful,” he added.
“My guys are experienced enough that for the most part, they can pretty much pick them out of a crowd,” Steele said of identifying underage drinkers.
Officers could be seen throughout the weekend verifying the authenticity of IDs questioning patrons about their alcohol consumption. One even informed an officer that she would be “turning 21 in exactly ten days.” The handful of fake IDs encountered by police were confiscated, Steele said.
“They’re readily accessible to the general public,” he said about the availability of false identification. “To the general public, to these people who are serving, they appear to be legitimate. It’s concerning.”
This year, the BLCE worked in coordination with the Philadelphia Police Department, which both Steele and Philadelphia police spokesperson John Stanford said was helpful.
“It’s always a great thing to have communication with other agencies,” Stanford said. “Especially during events like this, we’re all out there with the same common goal, which is to make sure that it’s a safe atmosphere for all those that were attending.”
College junior Becca Friedemann saw several interactions between LCE officers and concert attendees over the course of the weekend. One set of girls carrying beer who Friedemann said appeared to be in their teens was stopped and cited on the first day. A man who was stopped on the second day began screaming at an officer after it became clear that he was issuing the patron a citation.
“It scared a lot of people,” Friedemann said. “There were girls that would throw away their beer. Just drop their beers and walk away any time a cop walks by.”
Another College junior, who asked not to be identified, said that a vendor from whom she was purchasing alcohol commented on the unusual number of fake IDs she had seen throughout the weekend, though the vendor said that number was lower on the second day. At one point, a vendor took the College junior’s ID away to verify its authenticity, she added.
The BLCE issued 28 of its 39 citations on Saturday, the first day of the event. Steele attributed the decline to the deterrent effect that enforcement on the first day provided, along with slightly lower attendance on Sunday.
“I would hope that some of the presence of our officers helped people make better decisions,” he said.
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