Archive for Saturday, February 26, 2011

No Faking: Lawrence police cracking down on bogus IDs

Coalition uses KDOT grant to fight underage drinking

Doorman Caleb Blakesley, 24, cards Joni Weinert, 22, Friday at Johnny’s Tavern, 401 N. Second St.

Doorman Caleb Blakesley, 24, cards Joni Weinert, 22, Friday at Johnny’s Tavern, 401 N. Second St.

February 26, 2011


Fake ID AD on Facebook

Fake ID AD on Facebook

Inside Fake ID 101

• Who’s on the New Tradition Coalition: Advocates against drug and alcohol abuse, law enforcement, local school and health officials, plus parents.

• Who’s looking for fake IDs: Lawrence police, the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control, the KU Public Safety Office and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

• How it’s funded: The Kansas Department of Transportation has awarded a grant.

• The education component: In addition to posters and ads, the coalition also used Facebook ads about fake IDs to direct attention to its website to give youths and parents more information.

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Fake ID 101

Lawrence police officer Trent McKinley talks about the Fake ID 101 operation area law enforcement agencies conducted in September through December 2010 to crack down on underage drinking. Enlarge video

The Facebook ad targeted Lawrence area youths who might be looking for a fake ID.

Apparently, the power of advertising works.

A total of 5,247 people between the ages of 16 and 20 clicked on the ad that featured a fake ID using the character “McLovin’” from the movie “Superbad” during a 60-day period last semester.

But instead of getting a chance to obtain a fake ID that could be used to try to buy booze at Lawrence liquor stores and bars, people who clicked on the ad were directed to a website: the New Tradition Coalition of Lawrence, which combats alcohol abuse and underage drinking.

Coalition members said interest in the Facebook ad clearly illustrates the demand for fake IDs and the prevalence of underage drinking in Lawrence, particularly among Kansas University students.

“That bothered me because that many kids actually clicked on it because they were thinking they were going to get a fake ID,” said Jen Jordan, director of prevention for DCCCA. “We know that underage drinking is an issue in Lawrence and at KU and other colleges. We’re just trying to address it.”

Among the efforts is a project dubbed Fake ID 101.

Last spring — in the first installment of Fake ID 101 — enforcement tactics were a bit too obvious, said Trent McKinley, Lawrence police’s neighborhood resource officer. There was little doubt among underage drinkers what was happening when uniformed officers entered bars to check IDs.

“That’s pretty easy for kids to defeat,” McKinley said. “So we tried to change it up a little bit.”

In last fall’s second installment of Fake ID 101, coalition members and law officers expanded their reach. And they saw results.

Stepping it up

Here’s how it worked:

• Uniformed officers did traditional bar and restaurant checks.

• Officers in plain clothes spread out, checking out people as they entered bars and working as liquor store clerks, checking IDs. The coalition also trained servers and liquor-license holders on spotting fake IDs.

“Even those really great looking fake IDs, when you run them through the computer, they can come back to an 85-year-old person who may be deceased,” McKinley said.

• Officers made traffic stops.

• They were out on foot, patrolling Kansas University and the Oread neighborhood on football game days.

• They targeted parties in houses or at apartments, said Karen Price, an agent with the state Alcoholic Beverage Control.

The variety was important.

“They never knew what night we were going to do it and especially what we were going to do,” McKinley said.

And having officers in plain clothes was key. In a bar, for example, an underage patron might walk away from his or her beer and hide in the bathroom while uniformed officers checked IDs. Once the uniforms leave, the underage patron goes back to the alcohol.

Here are results from the nine nights that officers were out last fall:

• Checked 731 people’s IDs.

• Wrote 105 citations to minors in possession of alcohol.

• Wrote 60 citations for fake IDs.

“I think people were more apprehensive about going out and trying to use a fake ID and trying to go and consume alcohol in a bar,” McKinley said.

During the first Fake ID 101 last spring, officers went out four nights and cited 37 people for a total of 48 violations involving alcohol.

The future

Rick Renfro, who owns Johnny’s Tavern in North Lawrence, said nonuniformed officers visited his bar three times in a three-week period.

“They kept us well-informed of what they were going to do,” said Renfro, a member of the New Tradition Coalition. “They gave us good educational materials. That’s what it’s all about.”

He said the operations can be helpful because it’s hard for bars to catch every person using a fake ID.

“Even though we try to educate all of our door guys, and even though we try to pay more than the minimum wage and threaten them with losing their jobs, it’s impossible — they’re college kids,” Renfro said.

While he supports efforts to educate students and parents about underage drinking, he believes the best solution is to lower Kansas’ drinking age.

“I think everybody’s just spinning their wheels until we tackle the main problem, which is the actual age itself,” he said.

Shane Millhouse, a 21-year-old KU student, said he thought fake IDs were “very easy” for underage students to get, usually if someone of age misplaces their driver’s license in public.

He has seen only one person at a bar caught with a fake ID and said it was a difficult problem for police to get a handle on, unless they had officers in plainclothes in bars or were checking IDs at the door themselves.

“That’s about the only way to control it,” Millhouse said.

Teach your children

The idea behind the coalition is about more than just enforcement. Jordan, with DCCCA, said she encourages parents to talk to their children about alcohol when they are in junior high because data indicates some students can start drinking as early as 13 or 14.

“It’s never too late, but it’s also never too early,” she said.

The Kansas Department of Transportation has agreed to fund a third Fake ID 101 in Lawrence next fall. Already, coalition members are planning.

“I think each time we do it we’re getting better and better at how it’s done,” Jordan said, “and working together.”


deec 7 years ago

I wonder if they can use their fake ids to vote!

Ron Holzwarth 7 years ago

I was once told that in Germany, being drunk in public is really looked down upon, and that it is considered to be very embarrassing to be seen that way.

I suppose it is somewhat like walking around naked in the United States - people don't restrain themselves from walking around naked because it is against the law, but rather because is so embarrassing to be seen naked in public.

Other cultures, of course, are different.

pfunk81 7 years ago

go walk downtown naked and see if you don't get arrested.

Kat Christian 7 years ago

Exactly, but that is what FREE ENTERPRISE and FREE SPEECH gives us with all of the advertising. Should the Gov't really put a ban on free advertising? Marketing Execs know that Sex, Party, and Romance gets people's attention and they will use it to even sell a life savers or a baby rattle, there are no moral in the Advertising industry becauses its all about selling, sell, sell $$$$$$$$. Which is sad because it is destroying the fabric of this country and has already destroyed our morality. Its just downhill from here and until we hit rock bottom we will not begin to climb up and improve our behavior. Why should the youths in this town be any different with all the bars and liquor stores ...Alcholol in abundance and parties galore. So get out the band-aids we'll need more.

Majestic42 7 years ago

Exactly. Alcohol isn't really that special. Unfortunately, we're so far down the road of treating it like this horrible (or godlike) substance, that slashing the age limit or eradicating it altogether will result in horrific deaths across the country. In the 80s, they tried to lower the drinking age to 18. The youth of America went crazy, binged, and the sharp up tick in alcohol-related deaths caused lawmakers to raise it right back on up. So I'm all for the age being 18 (or lower). It's the road getting there that isn't worth it.

Alceste 7 years ago

What a waste of police "person" hours. Total waste. Incredible.

Neomarxist123 7 years ago

Underage drinkers fight, drive drunk, and (with some underage women) get sexually assaulted.

Doesn't seem like too much of a waste of resources to try to prevent that.

Ron Holzwarth 7 years ago

This equation needs to be solved for the unknown:

$/hour(police "person" hours) = ($ value of traffic fatality)

$/hour can be determined, thus is a constant (police "person" hours) can be determined, thus is a constant

($ value of traffic fatality) is the unknown.

Ron Holzwarth 7 years ago

I think that if there was no enforcement, there would be more offenders.

Kinda like speeding and other traffic offences, ya know.

Alceste 7 years ago

Oh my Word. Dares to refer themselves as a "Neomarxist" and yet has no clue what the role of the police is. Good grief.

Waste of time.

Leave the Police to do the job of apprehending felons and keeping the peace....NOT BABYSITTING!!!

Tony Kisner 7 years ago

Actually a double dip. Reduces the amount of tax revenue to pay police officers. The City and State have a vested interest in not enforcing the law.

conservative 7 years ago

5000 clicking on the ad doesn't mean that many wanted an ID. Most people prolly clicked on it to see how idiotic the person was who thought he could advertise something illegal and get away with it. Ask any business and they'll tell you that a web page hit doesn't equal a sale.

davidswayze 7 years ago

Listen to this person. They speak truth.

To assume that all of the people who clicked on the ad were interested in buying fake IDs is pure idiocy.

Purely my take: bloating these numbers is an easy way to continue the flow of grant money. While at its base the program is altruistic, the misrepresentation of it is not.

Ron Holzwarth 7 years ago

Saying that is not Politically Correct!

sloppyscience 7 years ago

Congratulations to all the Molly Hatchets, I hear college students don't want to drink anymore. Well done. Now let's spend money making kids like homework.

Ron Holzwarth 7 years ago

For some college students, drinking is their homework, and they like it.

And as a general rule, those are the less successful students.

BruceWayne 7 years ago

Molly Hatchet the band or the prostitute that cut off the heads of her clients? Did you mean Carrie Nation?

Bozup 7 years ago

the real suckers in this case is the Lawrence Police Department and The public. Bar owners don't want this, but will comply to keep his/her business going. This just means less money coming into the bar and more money paying staff. Public is out with less officers out patrolling and money we use to support this program. This has to be worse than trying to fight the war on drugs. And look how well that has worked out. Instead throwing money and resources at problem maybe we should tackle the issue and address the law itself.

mae 7 years ago

A college student that can't make a fake ID at high school doesn't belong at KU.

mae 7 years ago

I should say a bar ID I guess.

parrothead8 7 years ago

September to December also coincides with 30,000 KU students showing up back on campus ready to party after a long summer away from all their friends. uhh, DUH.

parrothead8 7 years ago

In how many of those 20 years did they receive funding from KDOT to run a Fake ID 101 program during the fall?

Ron Holzwarth 7 years ago

"A total of 5,247 people between the ages of 16 and 20 clicked on the ad"

This is being reported as a fact? How did the writer know that every single one was between those ages? Not a single one of them was younger than 16? And no one that was older checked it out for a younger friend?

And, no one was wondering what is going on here because it's against the law to sell a fake ID, and that not one single KBI agent checked up on the offer for an item that is illegal to possess?

Ron Holzwarth 7 years ago

Oh I know, I'm picky, picky, picky!

Ryan Wood 7 years ago

Facebook tracking can keep tabs of all that. Remember, everyone on Facebook has given up a lot of personal info, the least of which is their age. 5,247 profiles of people between 16-20 clicked on it. It's all tracked.

Ron Holzwarth 7 years ago

And nobody "fakes" their age on Facebook? This whole article is about "faking" your age!

Ron Holzwarth 7 years ago

But, you are certainly right about giving up a lot of personal info. For instance, I was very surprised to see one of my Facebook postings show up on a Google search!

Kontum1972 7 years ago

the new head of the PD is no boob like Olin.....he will get results..Smitty why don't u email him and ask him when he plans to get on the big issues...i am sure he will appreciate citizen input, and he wont blow u off...since you are paying his stay here, with your taxes.

govh8ter 7 years ago

Would you rather these kids (18-20) go out and buy guns or try to get in a bar and have fun with their friends? I think if they can buy guns they should be able to buy beer!

Vinny1 7 years ago

Lets see 18 years old a person can - Buy a gun. Fight for our country in a war Buy tobacco Drive Live by themselves at college LEGALLY be considered an adult and be independent.

Yet somehow its not okay and they are not responsible enough to drink?

The US in general has this totally backwards.

Ron Holzwarth 7 years ago

"they are not responsible enough to drink?"

If there weren't so many traffic fatalities due to impared younger drivers you would have a point.

But, the statistics certainly do imply that the answer to your question is:


ralphralph 7 years ago

When we outlawed 3.2% beer at age 18, we created a generation of dope smokers and whiskey drinkers. Oh, the unintended consequences.

We have taught our children that everything is a "drug" ... alcohol is a drug, nicotine is a drug, etc., and succeeded in convincing them that there is no difference. I'd rather have my kids "experimenting" with 3.2 Coors Light than meth, but we've told them it's all the same.

I do agree, as well, that Americans become "adult citizens" at age 18, and to impose these arbitrary limitations on those aged 18-20, because older people think it's for their own good, really is an indefensible act, Constitutionally speaking .... but those Constitutional limits are so "last century" anyway.

Soapbox 7 years ago

I'm 53 and in all these years they still haven't caught me!! ha ha

Doug Fisher 7 years ago

You can go fight in a war and die but can't drink at the age of 18. It should be lowered back to the way it was!

Romans832 7 years ago

"While (Renfro) supports efforts to educate students and parents about underage drinking, he believes the best solution is to lower Kansas’ drinking age.

'I think everybody’s just spinning their wheels until we tackle the main problem, which is the actual age itself,' he said."

Mr. Renfro, what is the actual age which will lower attempting to obtain a fake ID to ZERO? Further in the article it says, "Data indicates some students can start drinking as early as 13 or 14." So if the legal drinking age is 18, will kids 14, 15, 16, 17 be trying to get a fake ID?

I say the main problem isn't the age, but a problem with dealing with rules/authority (God said no, Adam and Eve said nobody is going to tell us what to do/not do). Some people settle that authority question relatively early, some never do.

Ryan Wood 7 years ago

If these kids are trying to have the greatest fake ID in Lawrence history, just give up. Mine was absolutely amazing.

Christine Anderson 7 years ago

Oh, this brings back a funny memory. I was 16, down here for music camp. Older sis was 21, and my now bro-in-law took us to the West Coast Saloon. They bought me a beer-damn it was gross. A nice blush wine is much better. Ordered food also. As we were leaving, the bouncer says, "I.D.'s next time, ladies (plural)." I thought he was a cop, so I blurted out, "I'm sorry-I just turned 16, but she's 21". My sister is still mad-this was 30 years ago.

mkozak12 7 years ago

Education is the answer, not punishment. Let younger kids drink and learn their limits before they leave their parents roofs. They get put in a position to be able to go out and live on their own and their whole life are told they can (or are not supposed to) do something what do you think they are going to do?

ralphralph 7 years ago

Something to be said for this ... the allure of drinking is somewhat proportionate to the efforts made to stop you from drinking. Once it's legal, the magic fades. It might be best to get your initial experience out of the way while you still live in a place where somebody cares if you're getting carried away ... somebody like your mom.

It is pretty much pure fantasy to think that kids will lose the urge to drink just because some well-meaning bureaucrats give a sincere talk on the perils of the Demon Rum. Rather, many see that as a gauntlet thrown down before them, which their youthful honor demands that they run by binge drinking.

If we're adults at 18, then we're adults.

Ron Holzwarth 7 years ago

"Education is the answer, not punishment."

Actually, that's true. Education is like, teaching the perils of driving while intoxicated.

Punishment is what often happens when you don't learn from your education, and the punishment can be death.

Unfortunately, the punishment of death is not always meted out to the actual offender.

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