For local students celebrating one final week of summer vacation with alcohol-filled events, police want to send the message that drunken behavior won’t be tolerated. Students should expect an increased police presence and DUI checkpoints both on-campus and around town for the next few weeks.
“Since Saturday, we’re up to 20 arrests for DUI and Drunk in Public,” said University Police Department Chief Bill Watton. “Most issues are with continuing students partying the week before school starts, although a few incidents involve freshmen.” Watton added that his department would work with San Luis Obispo Police Department to crack down on alcohol-related incidents by increasing police department throughout town.
While campus and local police step up patrols, area hospitals area also seeing an increase in traffic during Cal Poly’s Week of Welcome (WOW)festivities. Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center spokesperson Ron Yukelson said that the hospital had seen a “sharp spike” in alcohol-related incidents since WOW began, even treating one individual who had a blood alcohol content of .38.
Yukelson said the hospital wants to combat the fear and anxiety some students might feel about seeking medical help for friends or loved ones. “It’s very important to bring in friends and loved ones who are severely intoxicated—don’t let them sleep or put them to bed—bring them in,” he said.
Furthermore, Yukelson stressed the hospital’s ‘safe zone’ policy, which protects underage drinkers from police intervention.
“We’re a safe zone, so you don’t need to worry about us calling your parents or the police,” he said.
The office of university president Warren Baker sent a campus-wide email Wednesday informing students of acceptable partying practices, encouraging them to keep gatherings under control by calling campus police if they see illegal behavior.
The e-mail urged students to make “wise and responsible choices” including checking IDs at the door of parties to ensure no underage individuals are drinking alcohol.