While all local law enforcements will be working Little 500 weekend to keep people safe, another force from out of town will be in Bloomington: The Indiana State Excise Police.
The Indiana State Excise Police is the enforcement division for the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission. During Little 500, the police will focus on patrolling places that sell or serve alcohol like liquor stores, bars and parties. Excise also makes sure businesses are following Indiana alcohol laws and watch for the use of fake IDs. They will be in town Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
“That’s our main focus, is the alcohol laws,” Indiana State Excise police Lt. Brian Lang said. “The goal is to make it safe.”
The extra police force helps the local law enforcement during the busy weekend.
“It’s always good to have more law enforcement out there on a big weekend,” IU Police Department Capt. Craig Munroe said. “It’s always an advantage.”
BPD Lt. John Kovach said if BPD receives a report of a party, it can contact Excise and ask them to check it out, allowing BPD to focus on emergency calls when it needs to.
“During Little 500, any help we can get would definitely be appreciated,” Lang said.
There are six Excise district forces that are each in charge of a different area of the state. Bloomington is in district 4.
Excise police go to any major events in their area. Lang said for their force this includes Little 500, Harvest Homecoming and the Indy 500, Lang said.
The amount of officers that come in from year to year varies, Lang said. Some years they will bring in personnel from other districts, but this year they will just use the personnel from their district, which is about 10 people.
They will write citations for smaller offenses like underage drinking, but can also take people to jail if they are being a danger to themselves or others. The people cited will have to appear in court at 8:30 a.m. Sunday.
“We do have full police power, so we can arrest for any criminal act that occurs in our presence,” Lang said.
Last year, Excise police cited 79 minors and 18 adults, Lang said in an email.
Most of the citations were for minor possession or consumption of alcohol and possession of fake IDs, he said.
Tickets are issued by all the law enforcement bodies, but Excise and IUPD issue the majority of them, said Beth Hamlin, Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office Executive Director.
Lang said if they are patrolling and see someone with a beer in their hand who looks young, they will ask to see their ID.
“We are proactive when it comes to that,” he said.
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