From today's Daily Iowan, the student-run newspaper at the University of Iowa, Iowa City:
A keg-registration law passed in 2007 apparently has yet to be effective in combating underage drinking.Even the police admit it:
"There haven't been any [convictions] that I am aware of," said Sgt. Troy Kelsay of the Iowa City police. Police were able to track some stolen Liquor House kegs, he said, but noted, "That was for theft, not for providing alcohol to underage drinkers." (Some empty kegs were stolen off someone's porch, and when the thieves tried to claim the deposit, they got busted. Best use of a keg registration law I've ever heard!)Well, the working police admit it. The bureaucrats are still toeing the party line:
Iowa City Police Chief Sam Hargadine said he does believe that the law has reduced the number of kegs that get into the hands of underage drinkers."It has been very effective," he said. "It sends a message to all those over 21.""Ah, it sends a message. Some of my favorite words: they mean, "We can't quantify any results at all, but we'd hate to think we wasted every single damned minute we put into working on this dumb-ass project." As usual, the folks on the front-line know better:
"It's a good waste of our time, I guess," said Charlie Uthe, a Liquor House employee.The New Dry contacted for comment gave a typically evasive response:
Shellie Striegel, the community health action partnership project manager, worked vigorously to pass the keg law in many counties prior to the legislation." I would hope that people would begin to take the law seriously," she said. Taking down the buyers' names makes a statement that hasn't been made before, she said: The authorities are aware of who are buying kegs and watching where they go." (They see you when you're drinking, they know when you're of age...)"Makes a statement," "sends a message," same difference. But it sounds like people do take the law seriously, Shellie: exactly as seriously as it merits. As the chief himself said:
"It is a tool available to us," the chief said. "But we're busy. It's not like we're just sitting around waiting for a call to come in."No, I hope you're out patrolling, maybe looking for evidence of property damage, DUI, you know: real consequences of the destructive drinking behavior that is the real problem...that keg registration has yet to show any evidence at all of affecting, anywhere. Great article.