Educating area youths about the consequences of using a fake ID to get a drink is the point of the “Fake I.D. 101″ campaign announced at a Thursday news conference on North Fourth Avenue, home to a number of bars popular among thirsty youths.
The campaign began Thursday and runs through May 16.
Every Wednesday night through Saturday night, police officers will work with staff at six bars participating in the campaign. The officers and bar staff will work to spot fake identification used to get into the bar and get served, said Chuck Palm, with the Pima Prevention Partnership, one of the campaign sponsors.
Officers will issue citations and confiscate fake identification, Palm said.
“We believe that if young people know some of the consequences to them for getting caught trying to pass a fake ID card, they will be less likely to try,” Tucson police Officer Hank Masek said in a Pima Prevention Partnership news statement on the program.
“One problem that has persisted for some time now is underage drinking and the use of fake IDs,” said Richard Fimbres, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. “Underage drinking is the number one substance abuse problem among Tucson youth ages 16 to 20.”
The consequences of getting caught using fake identification or identification belonging to someone else who is of legal drinking age will be posted on sandwich board signs outside six “hot-spot” Tucson bars and on posters in the bars’ windows, Palm said.
For those caught by police with a fake ID, those consequences include mandatory six-month suspension of their driver’s license, fines and court fees that can mount to $1,065 and may lead to higher auto insurance rates, loss of a scholarship and a criminal record, the signs and posters say.
The news conference was held outside one of the hot-spot bars, O’Malley’s On Fourth, on North Fourth Avenue near East Eighth Street.
O’Malley’s general manager Bourke Floyd said, “We want O’Malley’s and the Fourth Avenue area to be known as a safe area.”
O’Malley’s is participating in the fake ID campaign, as are Maloney’s On Fourth and The Hut, also on North Fourth near Eighth Street; The Wildcat House on North Stone Avenue near East Grant Road; the Cactus Moon Cafe on East Broadway near Craycroft Road; and Sam Hughes Place Championship Dining on North Campbell Avenue near East Sixth Street, said Kim Briamonte, also with the Pima Prevention Partnership.
“They want to reduce underage drinking, just as we do,” Briamonte said.
Palm said the campaign is funded through a three-year federal grant for $920,000.
Under the grant, a study was done from Nov. 20 to Dec. 16 at five of the six hot-spot bars.
The study showed that of 23,301 patrons going to that bar, 92 of them were found to be using fake identification to get served.