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Aug 31, 2011 12:34 AM by Andy Koen

CSPD and UCCS awarded grant to curb underage drinking

The police department and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs are teaming up in an effort to curb underage drinking in our community. The two are sharing a $40,000 from the Colorado Department of Revenue Liquor and Tobacco Enforcement Division.

Sgt. Steve Noblitt of CSPD says officers are using their $30,000 share of the money to pay for undercover investigations to make sure businesses don't sell booze to minors.

"I think a measure of success for us is how many educational opportunities we've had and then also to be able to report our compliance rate," Noblitt said.

During their investigation of 365 local bars, restaurants and liquor stores, 85 percent carded the undercover (and underage) officers.

The university is using it's $10,000 as part of an educational campaign to help students recognize the dangers of underage drinking and drunk driving. Since Monday, Sgt. Brian McPike and officers from the UCCS Police Department have greeted students near Columbine Hall.

Their display included the wrecked Honda Accord that was driven by Joshua Klein last summer. Klein, 31, had been drinking and wrecked the car into a light pole near Academy Boulevard and Union Boulevard on June 7, 2010. His brother in law and passenger, Michael Clositer, 22, died at the scene.

"We get tons of questions, people walking up, it's obviously something that attracts people's attention," McPike said. "It has a very emotional story behind it and people are very interested in what happened."

McPike also lets students try on "beer goggles." The specially designed eye wear that distort a persons vision in such a way that it mimics the effects of alcohol on the brain. And they let student take a test drive in a specially equipped go-cart that can mimic the delayed reaction time of driving under the influence.

"Anything that we can do to get the message out that this is a bad thing to do and that it can cost you your life, we feel that it's effective," McPike said.

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