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Staying safe at Little 5

On April 27, 2012

With a record 276 tickets given by Excise at Indiana University's Little 500 last weekend, as students at DePauw gear up for Little 5, cheering on the cyclists shouldn't be the only thing mind.
As Excise worked to "keep students, especially those under 21 safe," students faced with the harsh reality of the law, as they received tickets with fines of more than $400 and their alcohol was taken from their hands and poured out. 
Typically there are around 150 tickets given at IU's Little 500 weekend according to the Indiana State Excise Police, but this year that number nearly doubled. They suggested security over the weekend will increase.
"We will absolutely be out in greater force and numbers this weekend," said Corporal Travis Thickstun, head of media relations for the Indiana State Excise Police. "We plan to be there both during the day and at night."
Tickets were primarily given last weekend at IU for minor in consumption and minor in possession.
"We are aggressively enforcing these laws. Minor consumption, public intoxication, operating while intoxicated - those are the priorities we're looking for."
Excise officers station themselves around places with alcohol permits, such as bars, taverns and alcohol stores, and locations where underage drinking is likely to occur.
According to Thickstun, plainclothes officers are also frequently stationed inside of businesses, looking out for fake IDs and adults buying alcohol for minors. Excise officers are also able to enter private property, such as fraternities, if Excise feels that they have reasonable suspicion that underage drinking is occurring and if the event appears to be open to the public.
In order to issue a ticket or to give an arrest probable cause is needed, but Excise can stop someone based solely on reasonable suspicion.
"If a reasonable person could believe that criminal activity is afoot, then that is enough to stop someone," Thickstun said. "Solid evidence that a person has been drinking is not necessary in order to stop them or to question them."
Thickstun did not have any recommendations for how students can party Little 5 weekend, emphasizing Excise's zero tolerance policy for underage drinking.
"We don't answer how to break the law and not get caught," Thickstun said. "What I tell students who ask that type of question is don't break the law."
Angie Nally, director of public safety, emphasized the importance of students being cooperative and using their best judgment at all times.
"Students should avoid drawing attention to themselves," Nally said. "Our students need to be smart."

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