Chief of police pursuing keg registration program

Buyers must provide name, address

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Drinking from a keg

Dave Ward

THIS IS WAY BETTER THAN THE LAST TIME A DUDE FILLED MY MOUTH WITH HIS HOSE. London Police Chief Murray Faulkner is proposing a keg registry system so buyers can be held accountable if they host illegal keg parties.

The keg party, a favourite activity for many Western students, could become an endangered species thanks to an initiative proposed by London’s police chief.

Chief Murray Faulkner recently submitted a proposal to the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario suggesting the implementation of a local beer keg registry system.

The registry would involve keg purchasers leaving information at the point of sale so they could be identified and held responsible for how the kegs are used.

Faulkner said he wants to increase accountability for people holding illegal keg parties.

“We enter the houses where these parties are taking place and people won’t say who lives there,” Faulkner said. “No one is taking responsibility for the alcohol being sold.

“From the perspective of students, I can see how it’s neat to have one of these parties, but they’re illegal and dangerous.”

Faulkner added he’s waiting for the day when a house collapses during a keg party.

“If it’s a small party with limited noise " fill your boots,” he said. “[It’s the] large parties [giving] all the great students at Western and Fanshawe a bad name.”

Faulkner said keg parties disturb families living in student neighbourhoods.

His proposal is part of a larger one advocating stiffer fines for alcohol-related offences in student areas.

“In our community, I just wanted to do something proactive instead of reacting to a tragedy,” Faulkner said.

Elgin Austen, director of Campus Community Police Services at Western, said he supports the proposal.

“I don’t think there’s any downside,” Austen said. “[Keg parties] are an illegal activity to begin with. Any keg party is a problem. When you have large parties, all that does is create difficulties in the community.”

Austen agreed a registry would help establish accountability.

“It won’t create a problem for people buying kegs legitimately,” he said. “But for students who buy a few kegs at a time, it will create a problem for them.”

“It’s good for the police to take some control, but it sucks for students,” said Jesse, a fourth-year student who requested his last name be withheld. “But I’m sure students will find some way around it. I know I would.”

Jesse said he has held 10 keg parties while at Western, with half resulting in police visits.

“Most of the time the police are really nice,” he said. “They know we’re students, and we’re just trying to have a good time. They’re just doing their job.”

“Keg parties are a fun social event, and they’re much more wholesome than going to the bar and grinding with some guy,” said Stephanie Howe, a fourth-year political science student. “Keg parties are like having St. Patty’s day all year round.”

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