Oklahoma Police Crack Down on Binge Drinking

8-23-05 - Assigning additional officers to keep an eye out for excessive alcohol consumption by students the weekend before classes start appears to have paid off for Stillwater police.

"Friday was pretty big. Saturday it started to get rather slow. And Sunday, which is traditionally one of the bigger party nights _ the night before school starts _ I don't think we hardly did anything at all," police Sgt. Paul Bostick said Monday, the first day of the fall semester at OSU.

Stillwater police broke up six house parties Friday night, Bostick said. One party had at least 200 people and many were underage drinkers, he said.

Saturday, only three house parties were broken up, Bostick said. Police did not break up a house party Sunday.

For the next two weeks, extra officers will patrol Stillwater and Norman, where police reported a possible increase in binge drinking over the weekend.

"The weekend seemed to be up a bit as far as drunkenness and public drunks," said Lt. Tom Easley, a spokesman for the Norman Police Department. "And we always have a high volume of DUIs anyway."

Arrest and citation numbers were not available, police said.

Officials have increased their efforts to curb student binge drinking since Blake Hammontree, a 19-year-old fraternity pledge at OU, died of alcohol poisoning Sept. 29 in Norman.

The Medford freshman died after drinking beer and taking several shots of liquor at a fraternity party.

OU President David Boren later banned alcohol from the campus and fraternity and sorority houses.

Easley said Norman police will release a study comparing alcohol-related arrests and citations last weekend compared with last year's back-to-school weekend sometime after the Labor Day holiday. The comparison will show whether arrests or citations increased, Easley said.

Clarke Stroud, OU's dean of students and vice president for student affairs, could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday.


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