Crowd unaffected by alcohol


Levi Erkkila

The Northern Michigan University sports facilities have been issued a beer and wine license for sporting events that are held at the Berry Events Center and the Superior Dome through their catering service Superior Catering. This fall will be the third year NMU will be able to sell alcohol in these buildings.

In the Berry Events Center, wristbands are required for alcohol consumption and can be acquired in designated areas around the arena with the proper identification. In those areas, you can purchase alcohol and bring it back to your seat.

Having the ability to bring the alcohol out of the assigned areas causes problems with underage drinking, whether they bring it in themselves or someone purchase it for them. In a case of over-intoxication, Laplante says the stadium seating makes it difficult for officers to control the person in question.

“If they look young or if they’re trying to conceal it, that’s just common sense or if we have complaints.,” explained public safety Detective/Lt. Guy Laplante. “There has to be a complaint and/or some kind of a probable cause aimed toward that person that would be suspicious of consuming [alcohol] underage.”

“When a public safety officer spots someone over intoxicated, it’s not so much policy but procedure. They make contact with that person to identify them if they have wristbands that are appropriate. Then they look for fake identification, making sure they’re OK and take the proper course of action, which varies on a large scale,” Laplante said.

In the Superior Dome, there is only one area you can consume alcohol, unlike the Berry Events Center, where you go sit back in your seat. The scheduled drinking area makes it easier for the officers to control underage drinking and over intoxication.

Whether it’s a football, basketball or hockey game, the plan for the officers going into an event is the same. Laplante states that it doesn’t matter if there are 4,000 people at a game or 400, it does not make the job tougher on officers.

“Percentage-wise, nothing has changed. Large crowds, small crowds, we deal with them,” Laplante said.

The typical stereotypes involving police and students are no longer a thought that enters minds of young men and women. At the sporting event or even in the dorms, officers are shown respect due to the effective communication they use when talking to the students. This begins when students first arrive on campus.

“It’s actually the opposite. People are going to them and asking questions. They [officers] are giving educational speeches on programs, so they are down there a lot talking to students. These younger guys are walking into the dorms and the students know them by their first name. It’s nice to see,” Laplante said.