UTSA PD is on the watch

Officer Jonathan Harris

On Aug. 24, Chili’s Too started selling beer on campus. Going from a dry campus to a wet campus raises some concern.

“We are on the watch,” said the UTSA Chief of Police Steve Barrera. “We are in direct communication with the Chili’s to prevent any driving while intoxicated (DWI) or minors in possession (MIP).”

But what to some is serious business, is trivial to others.

“It isn’t that big of a deal,” said Bernardo Clamont, senior civil engineering major. “It’s just one restaurant selling beers.”

“Some people believe that UTSA might be some sort of a haven for drunk driving,” said Barrera. “That is not the case; in fact, we collaborate very closely with SAPD. Our cars are seen at the edge of campus all the time, while theirs patrol outside.”

“What many people don’t know is that many of the DWIs that occur on campus are actually from people who are not affiliated with the university at all, ” UTSA Chief Communication Officer David Gabler said.

According to the Crime Analysis Unit Monthly Report on January 2011, arrests on UTSA’s Main campus have increased compared to 2010. In January 2010, 14 people were charged with alcohol related offenses; in January 2011, 39 people were charged with the similar offenses. At University Oaks, 22 charges were made in Jan. 2011 compared to the two people arrested from last year.

When asked if the UTSA PD officers had any sort of tolerance for first time underage drinkers, Barrera seemed reluctant.

“It really depends on the situation. Our job is to go by the law and enforce the law. We believe that the best way to enforce it is by prevention—to give as much information to students as early as possible,” Barrera said. “We are also in contact with Health Services who are in charge of the briefings.”

All incoming freshman who attend UTSA are mandated by Health Services to take an exhaustive test called the Alcohol Education Test that may take several hours to complete.

The test includes questions regarding how much rum to mix with Coke and an extensive briefing of common drinks at bars.

“It all comes down to reducing risks,” Barrera said. “Students have an unsafe culture for binge drinking that often place them or others at harm. Students’ safety is our number one concern.”