Former Oxford Police Chief Stephan Schwein and current Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser are supporting a new policy that plans to require off-campus houses and apartments to register for a party permit for gatherings of 10 or more.
The proposed permit is still in the preliminary stages of development but the conversation to support the policy is now beginning. The purpose of the party permits is to help law enforcement manage underage drinking and the overuse of alcohol.
According to officials, the permit’s intent is a way of holding someone responsible when irresponsible alcohol consumption goes awry.
The editorial board of The Miami Student views this potential policy as poor attempt at regulating alcohol consumption made by law officials. Implementing the requirement for party permits is a preposterous infringement of civil liberties and there is no feasible way for such permits to be regulated.
By supporting this policy, police officials are asking students and members of Butler County to alert authorities watching them to wait for a wrong move to be made.
It is not the police’s business to know who is visiting a residence or when. People should not be forced to report how many people are staying at their home for the sake of the police seeking a preemptive strike. What would happen if someone does not request a permit? How do authorities plan to monitor the regulation and distribution of permits? What if Grandma wants to host a quilting party and sip mojitos with 13 of her closest friends? Will she be fined for breaking the law by not getting a party permit? Will the definition of a party need a new description?
Moreover, this board does not see this policy going into fruition. The policy is too vague and too overly broad.
This board understands the problem of overdrinking but a permit policy will not solve the problem. But the fact that a party permit is coming up in conversation raises red flags. There is a potential that a policy similarly related to a party permit may appear, but who gets the final say? Is it the citizens or the police?
Earlier this semester, this board took a generally positive view of other reforms suggested by Oxford Police Department and Gmoser, such as requiring bars to more thoroughly screen customers.
However, the suggestion for a party permit policy is both absurd and probably also unconstitutional. This board hopes Ohio’s lawmakers have the good sense to laugh it out of the realm of possibility.