Meeting addresses underage drinking
The Towson Chamber of Commerce organized a meeting to discuss the late-night crowds and how to prevent underage drinking with Towson bar owners, University and police officials.
Capt. Jonathan Trentzsch, commander of the Towson precinct for Baltimore County Police, had the original idea for the meeting and asked the executive director of the Towson Chamber of Commerce Nancy Hafford to contact the various groups.
“I think each year we have to remind everybody what we have to accomplish out here,” he said. “I just wanted everybody to be safe.”
Sophomore Andrew McCormick said he thinks it makes sense and is good that they had the meeting. He also said that bars get a lot of business from the underage students.
“I don’t think it’s possible to stop it [underage drinking] all at once,” he said. “But it will deter it.”
The bar should be a place where students can drink and be safe as opposed to doing it on campus and walking around drunk, freshman Ryan Whiteleather said.
“The drinking age should be 18, so then there would be no problem and they could go into bars as a controlled environment,” he said. “If I was a bar owner, I’d want as many people coming to my bar as possible.”
The police department has more on the line when underage students drink, Trentzsch said. The numbers of those on the street are higher, making things harder to control.
“When the kids, legally or not legally, drink too much they just lose their sense of what they’re doing,” he said. “We just cant afford it with the crowd size.”
At the meeting, Trentzsch showed how to identify fake ids. The Community Action Team will also reach out to work regularly to help teach bar owners how to identify the fake ids, he said.
Trentzsch also spoke to the establishments about their capacities. He wants to make them aware of their crowd size and have them monitoring it during business.
The Charles Village Pub already plans to have one of the police officials come in and train all of their staff personally, owner Melanie Wagner said.
“We just want to make sure everybody, that if they are drinking, they are of age, and are being responsible,” she said.
Wagner said she believed the meeting went well and was happy to see so many other restaurant and bar owners there. Other restaurant owners that attended were 7 West Bistro, The Green Turtle, Souris and the Rec Room.
“We just wanted the police to understand that we’re on their side and for us to understand that they’re on our side,” she said.
Trentzsch plans to have another meeting in December to address any issues that may occur directly. He, along with Towson University Police Department, will also be detailing liquor stores.
“The system doesn’t work if we’re not working with each other,” he said. “We could work as a partnership.”
Deb Moriarty, vice president for student affairs, attended the meeting and offered the University’s support to the bar owners and police officials.
“My sense in the meeting was that the people who own the bars and restaurants in town were happy to have this meeting and have this conversation,” she said. “It was a very cordial and productive meeting. There was a lot on the line for bars serving underage drinkers so they want to do everything they can to uphold the law.”