The Moscow Police Department will hold the fourth annual Drinking with the Cops at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Student Union Building Ballroom.
The event is sponsored by the University of Idaho and MPD and is targeted at students who participate in alcohol related activities.
Lieutenant Dave Lehmitz chose volunteers from UI who are 21 years or older and vary to show how body size, height, age and alcohol content are factors in intoxication to participate in the educational program.
During the program, volunteer students will be treated to alcoholic beverages to show different levels of intoxication representing the effects of alcohol. Officers will speak to the audience on alcohol safety, alcohol statutes and laws and consequences of alcohol consumption.
Lehmitz said the event brings in about 100 students and is beneficial for officers and students alike.
“What we try to do is hang around afterward, so if people have questions they get more of a one on one,” Lehmitz said. “An officer there and maybe that person get to know each other better.”
Lehmitz said the volunteers are shown to the audience in a before and after comparison.
“I’ll bring the participants in at four o’clock … it’s a very controlled environment and we document how much they had to drink,” Lehmitz said. “There’s an interview process that you go through that asks how much do you drink, how often do you drink, so I’m not going to have a person that drinks one beer a week drink six beers before.”
Lehmitz said this event is important because there is an alcohol issue in the quad cities. He said statistics show that in the Moscow, Pullman, Lewiston and Clarkston area officers issue almost a DUI a day to a student.
“We talk about choices and personal choice,” Lehmitz said. “Some students drink and some students don’t. We talk about the responsibilities students have when they get caught.”
Lehmitz said MPD co-sponsored the program with UI’s Counseling and Testing Center. CTC will be at the event screening students at the door for alcohol and will have the students participate in an anonymous questionnaire.
“It’s not that we just do this program, programming doesn’t work that’s what the statistics show,” Lehmitz said. “You take this questionnaire and then hopefully you can see where you stand with alcohol in your personal life.”
Lehmitz said in the past Drinking with the Cops was only geared toward DUI enforcement information.
“Now we’ve really tweeked it,” Lehmitz said. “We tried to tweek the program to what the research shows is more able to change behavior. Not just throwing out information. We’ll talk about consequences and the alcohol related crimes we see on campus.”
Lehmitz said, officers have found that when dealing with fighting, vandalism or sexual assault on campus, alcohol is very likely to be involved.
“Some students have a problem, not all students, but those that engage in high risk behavior and high risk drinking is our point audience,” Lehmitz said.
Lehmitz said data shows students who have a drinking problem came to UI with a drinking problem. Therefore, officers talk to freshmen at orientation, they talk to Greek Life and campus residents as well Lehmitz said.
Lehmitz said he hopes Drinking with the Cops will show students the progression of intoxication, while the science and facts provided will help students understand how alcohol can affect their body, mind and life.
Danielle Wiley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org