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Amherst police cracking down on underage drinking

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Amherst police are using sophisticated technology to crack down on underage drinking.

In a town mostly made up of college students, police say that the use of fake IDs is rampant.

"Unless you have a scanner like this, it's very difficult to tell the real from the fake," said Amherst Detective Richard MacLean.

Amherst police armed with sophisticated ID scanners are cracking down on the use of fake IDs.

Many students are from out of state, oftentimes making it nearly impossible to spot a fake ID from out of state.

 "How many times do you get to deal with that as a doorman or as a person selling liquor at a package store or a police officer," MacLean said.

The ID scanning machine gets rid of the guessing game.

MacLean only has to scan a fake ID and in seconds the scanner can tell him everything he needs to know.

"It'll read the licenses and show you seven different checks automatically," MacLean said.

The scanner reads the barcode, safety and security features built into the license and looks at the holographs with an infrared light.

It comes in good use on nights like Friday night as MacLean and the other officers staged at local package stores randomly ID people as they walk out.

Most of these stops involve people 21 and over buying alcohol for minors.

"You have a 20-year-old sitting next to a bottle of vodka," MacLean said to one driver.

But MacLean says students following the laws and just having a good time won't have to worry.

"If you're out there minding your business, doing things the right way, we're not going to encounter you," MacLean said.

UMass and Amherst police are stepping up joint patrols starting this weekend to continue to crack down on the problem.

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