Police step up enforcement of public drinking law

Image by joguldi Charleston Police say: No drinking on public property, please.

If you'd like to have a drink outside a bar with your cigarette, or during a walk between art galleries, or if you'd like to tailgate, Charleston Police will be looking for you. The police have been letting the folks know that they're working on risk management and that, as part of that, they can't have folks drinking on public property. For the most part, the enforcement has gone over smoothly with attendance at bars and events seemingly holding steady. The Post and Courier writes:

Lese Corrigan, owner of Corrigan Gallery downtown, said police met with the French Quarter Gallery Association before this year's art walk to let them know it was against the law for people to stroll from one exhibit to the next with a drink in hand, as has been tradition. "It didn't slow down traffic, but it certainly did cast a different tone," Corrigan said. "I understand that it's the law, but there's a feeling that this is changing the flavor of Charleston by doing this." The first big public change came last summer, when police said that folks at Citadel football games had to stop drinking in the parking lots within two hours after the game ended. Andy Solomon, the college's associate athletic director, said the change didn't hurt attendance at all.

There has been, of course, a little public outcry that the police must have better things to do. But Police Chief Greg Mullen has countered that they must focus on enforcing all laws. It seems like there must be a more graceful way to handle the issue, especially as Savannah has successfully allowed open containers on its downtown streets for years.

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