Oxford police preparing for warm weather partying
OFXORD, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) -- In January 2017, Miami University freshman Erica Buschick died in her dorm. The Butler County coroner said her blood alcohol level was .347.
Since the incident, Oxford Police have worked harder with campus police to roll out rules targeting off-campus parties and underage drinking. As the weather warms, they're looking to do more.
On campus Tuesday (Apr. 18), students were still thinking about the Wright State student paralyzed at an Oxford party earlier this month.
"It didn't say anything about alcohol being involved," Miami University freshman Trent Fantelli said. "I don't know if it's safe to assume there was or not, but it's definitely a sad incident."
For 2017, the campus was voted the number three party school nationwide by niche.com, a site driven by student reviews.
"That's what's being promoted is parties, parties, parties," said senior Christy Finney. "That's the thing to do, everyone's doing it."
Finney wants her peers to find safer alternatives.
"Maybe it's just like having a movie night, or whatever," she said.
So far this year, Oxford officers arrested 134 people for underage drinking.
"Our concern is just the level of intoxication we are finding people in," said Chief John Jones, with the City of Oxford Division of Police.
Over Easter weekend, officers arrested a 19-year-old who peed himself, and was passed out drunk at a church altar. Jones says drunk drivers are also hitting dangerous highs with their blood alcohol level.
"It's not uncommon for us to get a .20," Jones said.
In a department of 25, size matters, and managing resources is tricky.
"It's often one officer responding to a party of 300 to 400 people," Jones said.
One solution is using quality of life violations.
"You know, excessive noise, excessive litter, disorderly conduct," Jones added.
It allows officers to gain access to parties, then target and arrest underage drinkers. Police then leave residents with citations. Fantelli says it can work for some parties that get too wild.
"People just start randomly throwing beers, and definitely that gets out of hand," he said.
Other times, it's a dead end.
"Our house got busted for a noise violation, when really we weren't even doing anything at all," Finney said. "It was a dry party."
Either way, students are noticing the increased police presence.
"Yeah, definitely," said Fantelli. "I've seen a lot more police activity uptown, whenever I go out or anything like that."
Fox 45 reached out to Miami University for an interview about how they're also working to combat underage drinking. The university never responded to our request.