Police Get $40,000.00 Grant to Combat State College Furnishing Alcohol and Underage Drinking

With the University Park Campus of Penn State being located in State College, the State College police routinely deal with underage drinking parties. Underage drinking parties often lead to the issuance of citations for Underage Drinking and the filing of misdemeanor Furnishing Alcohol to Minors charges. The State College police recently received a two-year, $40,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to fund the police department’s Source Investigation Project (SIP). According to the department’s website, the goal of SIP is to increase “the perception of PSU students of the likelihood of getting caught and sanctioned for underage drinking and furnishing alcohol to persons under 21” and is focused on reducing incidences of Underage Drinking, Furnishing Alcohol to Minors, Public Drunkenness, and Possession of a False Identification Card.

Furnishing Alcohol Investigations at Penn State University Park and Altoona

Police departments near major universities like Penn State-University Park, Lock Haven, Juniata, and Penn State-Altoona must routinely deal with underage drinking. In order to reduce underage drinking, the police often cite the underage drinkers in an effort to cause them to reform their behavior, and the police often focus efforts on furnishing alcohol to minors investigations to stop the supply of alcohol to underage drinkers. State College Furnishing Alcohol to Minors charges often arise in 3 situations: 1) police respond to a report of a loud party and cite the party hosts; 2) police stop an underage drinker and the drinker agrees to testify against the party host; or 3) undercover officers conduct a cops-in-shops type program in six-pack shops and liquor stores. Scenario 1 is relatively routine as the police basically catch the furnisher “red handed” as they bust the party while it is occurring. People that are charged under scenario 2 are often upset that the underage drinker was probably not charged or his Underage Drinking citation was dismissed in exchange for cooperation with the police. The fact that the underage drinker was not charged does not prevent the police from filing furnishing charges.

State College Cops-in-Shops Furnishing Alcohol Surveillance Details

The State College police often use SIP funds to pay officers to conduct the cops-in-shops investigations. In such investigations, undercover officers go into Pennsylvania liquor stores or six-pack shops to conduct surveillance on purchasers of alcohol. In the six-pack shop investigations, the police simply watch the furnisher hand off the alcohol to the underager either right outside the beer shop or close by. In the liquor store investigations, the police watch for vehicles in which a passenger enters the store but the driver remains in the vehicle. Only people 21 years of age or older are permitted in the liquor store, so, by staying the vehicle, the police believe that the driver is under 21. The passenger enters the store, purchases alcohol, re-enters the car, and the driver pulls away. The police then follow the vehicle to see if the purchaser gets out of the vehicle but leaves some of the alcohol. The police then stop both the purchaser and the driver to conduct a furnishing alcohol to minor investigation. By leaving the alcohol in the car, the purchaser relinquished possession to the underager and thereby can be charged with Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor in violation of 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 6310.3. With the alcohol being the car, the driver can be charged with underage possession or transportation of alcohol in violation of 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 6308.

For more information, check out my Pennsylvania Furnishing Alcohol to Minors Frequently Asked Questions page.