City police to continue crackdown on bar scene

Oswego City Police, as well as local bars and clubs, will continue to keep a vigilant eye out for underage drinkers as the aftereffects of last spring’s drinking crackdown continue to be felt. Following a rash of busts led by City Police that led to the closure of Toucan’s and Tail Draggers; two major student drinking destinations; bars continue to seek compliancy for avoid being the next raid site. "There was a lot of underage drinking going on towards the end of Toucans," said Briana Semon, an employee at Toucan’s club, located on Water Street. "We even had to start checking ID’s every single time a person came up for a drink, wrist band or not."

Grant money awarded by the County of Oswego Council on Alcoholism and Addictions (COCOAA) helped fund numerous drinking busts during the spring semester that netted multiple arrests and fines at a handful of clubs and bars.

According to Oswego Police Capt. Tory DeCaire, despite not receiving the same grant funding for the current fall semester, police will continue this year to conduct "quality of life patrols" throughout the city once again. The patrols will focus on on alcohol and "disorderly type" behavior, including unreasonable loud disturbances, vandalism and other nuisance type offenses, DeCaire said.

The patrols have already seen significant results, with at least 31 arrests over each of the past three weekends for offenses ranging from open container violations, possession of alcohol under the age of 21, disorderly conduct, and criminal mischief.

Bars and clubs across the city are continuing to prepare to curb the noticeable amount of underage students who try to gain access to drink, including the Raven, which has increased the amount of security.

The fight against stopping minors from drinking doesn’t stop at the front door either. Clubs also are having to deal with a rash of patrons who sneak in their own alcohol and consume it in restrooms.

Still, the crackdown on underage drinking at bars will not be able to deter all Oswego State students.

When asked if by cracking down on the underage drinking at the bars would have any affect on them, one college sophomore, Jackie Mienkiewicz, commented "Underage drinking is never going to stop, and if I did have a fake I.D I would definitely be going to the bars."

Despite the expected resistance associated with such a wide-scale crackdown in a college populated area, police are prepared to continue to keep an eye out at the bars and throughout the city for underage drinkers.

"Statistics from this semester show that there have been numerous arrests made for alcohol related offenses and other ‘Quality of Life’ type offenses," DeCaire said in an email. "And we anticipate more to come."