FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- With the first week of classes at the University of Arkansas complete, the Fayetteville Police Department is cracking down on underage drinking and fake identification cards.
Sgt. Craig Stout said, of the more than 27,000 students at the university, almost two thirds are under the age of 21. However, many are still purchasing and consuming alcohol by using fake ID cards.
“Whenever the students are in town, obviously this kind of incident does go up,” Stout said.
Stout and several other undercover cops are spending their nights checking, and confiscating, fake ID’s. Stout said the cards are purchased online.
“You can upload a picture [to the website],” Stout said. “You can even pick what state you are from. A lot of these are coming from china.”
However, with some training, and a small tool, the team can spot most fake ID cards.
Stout said it’s all in the details not visible to the naked eye.
A tool equipped with a magnified glass, and several lights, allows the officers to take a close look at the cards. At plain sight, many cards look to have small artistic designs. At closer look, the lines on the cards actually spell out words as proof of reality.
“They are very high quality fakes. But, if you know what to look for, they are easy to spot,” Stout said.
The Dickson Street bars are also frequented by the officers.
Most incidents do not end in arrest. Those cited are released with tickets, and court dates. Their fake, and real, ID cards are confiscated.
“We actually seize their real driver’s license. And then they will have a hearing with the office of driver services,” Stout said.
The team said the operation is more to protect those involved.
“Unfortunately, a lot of other crimes go with underage drinking. Even going as far as some rape crimes, when someone is overly intoxicated,” Stout said. “We are trying to curb it a little bit. We know we will never stop it.”
Stout said students who are considering purchasing or using a fake ID should know they are breaking the law. And, they never know when the person they’re handing the cards to, will end up being an officer of the law.
“We are just trying to send that message that they need to wait until they are 21,” Stout said.
The location where the officers monitor is never on a schedule. Officers said they randomly show up for the stings on different days of the week, in order to make the stings possible.