Today I spoke with the Chief of The Ohio State University Police Department. As you may not know, when OSU is in session, it is Ohio's 6th largest city. It is a very busy police department, especially on OSU football game days. One week from today, OSU will kick off its 2010 season with high hopes of adding yet another National Championship. Every game will be sold out for the millionth year in a row and tailgating will start the day before every game.
So, what do we suggest for the fans going to the OSU football games and tailgating? Here is a quick list of the most common problems according to the Chief.
Since 2003 the OSU police department has enforced the open container law. The largest misconception is that a lot of people believe it's alright to pour their beer into a colored Solo cup. However, people normally aren't cited for this unless they are drawing attention to themselves. The police are not dumb, they know what is in the red plastic cups. They are just choosing not to stop and detain every single person.
People get drunk and do stupid stuff. Anything that causes an annoyance or alarm to others is a misdemeanor in Ohio. Getting so intoxicated that they could be a risk to themselves. People drawing attention to themselves tend to get cited for this.
Long lines for the bathrooms cause drunk people to search for other places to pee. Mostly men are the problem but every year men and women are charged. Extremely embarrassing to have this on your record.
Big problem. Police can approach anyone that appears to have an open container or appears to be young and intoxicated. Important to inform public that this is a 1st degree misdemeanor.
The agencies that are on campus to enforce the laws are:
Ohio Investigative Unit
Franklin County Sheriff Department
OSU tries to send out the message every year to visiting fans about Ohio's open container law. They are tired of hearing "I didn't know."