Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Underage drinking, fake IDs center of EPD chief talk

You’d better watch out — underage drinking penalties could be a lot harsher than you think.

At the Evanston Substance Abuse Prevention Council’s annual meeting Thursday, Chief Frank Kaminski of Evanston Police Department explained current police measures to curb underage drinking. The event was held at the Joseph D. Hill Education Center, 1500 McDaniel Ave.

Steve Goebel, a supervisor for the Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney’s Office, also spoke about the consequences underage drinking has in the court system.

EPD does regular checks of liquor stores to make sure they’re not selling alcohol to minors, and last spring, the Evanston City Council increased fines for public intoxication and possession of fake identifications to $200.

Kaminski also said when a Northwestern student is cited for public intoxication or having a fake ID, a copy of the citation is sent to the university.

“I think the kids are more scared of that than of the ticket,” Kaminski said.

The department has also conducted sting operations in which undercover officers look for underage patrons in bars, Kaminski said. About 18 people have been arrested in recent sting operations, he said.

Several EPD officers are also trained to educate restaurant workers and other sellers of alcohol to spot fake IDs.

If caught with a fake ID in Illinois, a person can lose his or her driving privileges for up to a year, Goebel said.

Both speakers emphasized that for them, preventing underage drinking isn’t about preventing people from having fun but about stopping the problems and tragedies that can result from excessive drinking.

“I’ve seen a kid who wiped out two people because he was (driving) drunk,” Goebel said.

Goebel said some parents’ permissiveness of underage drinking contributes to the problem. He cited cases of parents buying and transporting kegs of beer for their high school kids’ parties.

That can lead to a carelessness among teens when it comes to alcohol, he said.

“It was just amazing how cavalier of an attitude these kids have about drinking,” Goebel said.

The 20-year-old council is a coalition of community groups and agencies that works to prevent the misuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

Council chairwoman Ariel Jackson, who is a youth advocate for the police department, said her group provides services for adults with substance abuse problems and tries to prevent such abuse by educating children starting in middle school.

“I’m seeing in my profession that it’s happening at younger ages,” Jackson said.

Evanston resident Donald Zeigler said he thinks alcohol is most teens’ “drug of choice,” Zeigler said.

“A student can go out out and get bombed on less money that it takes to go to the movies,” said Zeigler, who works for the American Medical Association’s Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse.

He said alcohol use concerns him because of both the societal problems it causes and because of the disturbances it causes in his neighborhood near downtown Evanston.

Reach Alison Knezevich at

[email protected].

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Underage drinking, fake IDs center of EPD chief talk