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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Tucson cracks down on bogus IDs

    Marcus B., manager at OMalleys Bar, examines the faces of two women suspected of using false identification and compares their likeness with the photos on the identification they presented at the door.
    Marcus B., manager at O’Malley’s Bar, examines the faces of two women suspected of using false identification and compares their likeness with the photos on the identification they presented at the door.

    If you’re under 21 years old and plan on using a fake or borrowed ID to get into a bar for a few drinks, you may want to reconsider.

    The “”Fake ID 101″” information campaign kicked off March 12 in an effort to reduce alcohol access to minors, and will run for the next nine weeks, through May 19.

    “”This whole idea is about deterring young people from using fake IDs,”” said Chuck Palm, director of public policy and training at Pima Prevention Partnership. “”Young people need to know that there are consequences for breaking the law, and they also need to know that these laws are actually going to be enforced.””

    Owners of six popular bars – O’Malley’s, Maloney’s, the Hut, Cactus Moon, the Wildcat House and Sam Hughes Place Championship Dining – have agreed to place posters and sandwich boards at their doors and windows informing minors of the consequences of using fake or borrowed IDs to gain access to the establishment.

    The Fake ID 101 campaign spawned from a three-year collaboration between Pima Prevention Partnership, Davis-Monthan Air Force base, the Tucson Police Department and the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

    During a test period, conducted from Nov. 20, 2008 through Dec. 16, five of the six current participating locations combined to confiscate and issue citations on 92 fake IDs, according to a press release.

    If someone underage is caught using a bogus ID, they could face a mandatory loss of their driver’s license for up to six months, a fine of more than $1,000, possible loss of scholarship and a possible criminal record, said Tucson Police Department Lieutenant Tom Early.

    “”Most kids have no idea that there are all sorts of consequences that come from being arrested for fake identification,”” Early said.

    Palm said there are other problems facing minors who choose to knock back a few beers.

    The younger someone starts drinking, the more likely they are to become an alcoholic, Palm said. Intoxicated teens, especially, are more prone to car accidents and young girls under the influence of alcohol are at greater risk of sexual assault.

    Underage drinking is also identified as the number one substance-abuse problem for minors 16 to 20.

    The volume of minors caught using fake IDs at O’Malley’s alone is between 15 and 20 on busy nights, which are usually Tuesdays and Thursdays, according to the bar’s general manager, Bourke Floyd.

    “”(O’Malley’s has) a zero tolerance for fake IDs – we have a zero tolerance for violations of responsible service of alcohol,”” Floyd said. “”By not allowing (minors) in before they’re 21, we reeled anticipation on their behalf to come here once they do turn 21.””

    The project is funded via a three-year federal grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

    Not everyone is confident of the projected effectiveness of Fake ID 101.

    UA computer engineering junior Delbert Gallego works as a doorman at Sam Hughes and said simply posting signs at doors and windows isn’t going to be enough to deter underage people from trying to get into bars.

    “”(Minors) are still going to come up and try their fake IDs. Until they actually experience getting their ID taken and encounter the officer, they’re not really going to change their minds,”” Gallego said. “”I haven’t seen anyone turn around because of the sign.””

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