Liquor police issue 35 citations this Fling

The BLCE is investigating two local retail establishments for selling alcohol to minors

· April 13, 2014, 7:18 pm   ·  Updated April 14, 2014, 12:40 pm

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The Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement gave out a total of 35 citations to 24 people in and around Penn’s campus between Thursday and Saturday evening, according to BLCE Sergeant Dan Steele , commander of the Philadelphia District Office.

The citations followed a request by the Division of Public Safety for the presence of the BLCE around campus over the weekend. The collaboration between DPS and the BLCE began last year when DPS posed a similar request, which also brought a large and undisclosed number of BLCE officers to campus.

The BLCE issued 20 citations on Thursday , 11 of which were given for underage possession or consumption of alcohol. Of the 11 people cited, six were also cited for possession of false identification cards. In addition, two adults were arrested for disorderly conduct. The majority of these offenses occurred between 40th and 42nd streets on Chestnut Street.

A 22-year-old Penn student was also arrested on Thursday for public drunkenness on the block of 3900 Spruce St. after he was observed nearly being struck by a car.

None of these citations were made in bars, and most “dealt with observations officers made on the street,” District Office Supervisor Michael Rutkowski said in an emailed statement.

On Friday, six minors were issued citations for underage drinking, five of whom were cited for possessing false identification cards. One person who was at least 21 years old was cited for disorderly conduct. Most citations occurred around 40th and Pine streets and between 40th and 42nd streets on Walnut Street .

The fewest citations of the weekend were given out Saturday, when two minors and one juvenile were cited for underage drinking. These citations were issued around 36th and Walnut streets.

Rutkowski also said the BLCE is investigating two local retail establishments on campus which sold alcohol to minors who used false identification cards. The establishments might be warned or cited depending on the outcome of the case, which is still ongoing.

Additionally, two local bars permitted loud music on their property in violation of Pennsylvania Liquor Code regulations, Rutkowski said. They will also face either citations or warnings depending on the bars’ previous history of violations. Rutkowski declined to provide the names of the institutions under investigation, per Pennsylvania law.

Steele noted that the BLCE’s numbers do not encompass citations or arrests made by Philadelphia or Penn Police officers. DPS — which oversees the Penn Police Department — and the Philadelphia Police Department could not immediately provide information on police activity over the weekend.

Last year’s Spring Fling saw a large number of citations on the Thursday night of Fling — 31 at two off-campus parties.

A person who received a citation has to pay a fine or go to court to challenge it.

A number of students felt that the BLCE presence around campus this year changed their Fling experience. The weekend “didn’t feel like Fling,” Wharton sophomore John Jimenez said . “Less stuff was going on that was accessible,” he explained.

“The atmosphere was different,” College sophomore Hannah Sweeney said. “This year everybody was scared.”

Some students said that due to a fear of police citation, there were fewer parties held on campus. There was a “massive exodus” downtown that “divided campus,” College junior Manola Gonzalez , former Daily Pennsylvanian crime reporter, said.

Many students still enjoyed themselves, however. Police presence “definitely changed Fling, but people still had fun,” Wharton junior Aditi Shroff said . “I actually had a better Fling than last year,” added College sophomore Grace Jemison , noting this year’s improved weather.

Even with the increased number of officers, members of the Greek community mentioned that they did not experience many problems over the weekend. Sigma Chi, who hosted a registered event, met “no issues at all,” President and Wharton junior Conor Hails said . “I never saw an LCE officer,” added Wharton junior Nathan Fleetwood , president of Kappa Sigma fraternity.

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