USC Aiken beefs up alcohol enforcement with new equipment

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News 12 First at Five / Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) – Right now, conditions around campus seem like the calm before the storm, but in just a week, that'll change at USC Aiken.

"Everybody's ready for school to start back. They're ready for the parties and everything," says Joseph Williams, a business major who’s a senior.

Williams, who wants to graduate, will be hitting the books, but he knows others won't go that route.

"Well, as far as alcohol goes, it can be very addictive. A lot of younger students tend to engage in it when they first arrive,” says Williams.

That's why the USC Aiken Police Department is getting some major upgrades. The department is getting gadgets that'll make officers there the 'James Bonds' of alcohol enforcement.

"If they know that those tools are out there to limit them from, you know, overconsumption or consuming at all if they're under-aged, deterrence is the biggest thing that we can do,” says Chief Kevin Liles.

It's all made possible by the South Carolina Alcohol Enforcement Team of the Second Judicial Circuit. Coordinator Steve Ryan delivered the gadgets to Chief Kevin Liles just this week.

"The officers are going to be equipped this year, for the first time, with this small Scorpion camera, which they'll actually be able to clip on their uniforms or on their microphone,” says Ryan.

In addition, the department also received a black-light flashlight to check for fake IDs, guides to identify IDs from all 50 states, and a sensor that detects alcohol on someone's breath or even in the air in a confined space.

"So if you have a room of under-aged students and you take that into the room and you're able to get a sample from the room and tell there's alcohol in there, there's not much you can do other than just confess that there's an issue,” says Liles.

"It gives a BAC indicator level,” adds Ryan.

They’re all reasons Williams says fellow students should follow the law.

"When you step into alcohol and other things, it actually steers you in the wrong direction, and it takes your mind off of the books,” he tells News 12.

Ryan says federal grants to the state help pay for the equipment, and it's not all the Alcohol Enforcement Team does. He says they also do compliance checks at stores and restaurants, among other things.

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