Knoxville police to crack down on open container ordinance among gameday fans

The Knoxville Police Department is giving plenty of fair warning ahead of next fall’s football season about its plan to begin aggressively enforcing the city’s open container ordinance among gameday fans — or at least those who have to settle for an off-campus tailgating spot.

Officer Donny Huskey, with KPD’s Inspections Unit, said the tendency of fans to drink openly before, during and after University of Tennessee home games, particularly in parking lots at Cumberland Avenue businesses, is a growing problem.

In fact, violations have become so common, he explained, that the department has had no choice but to selectively enforce the prohibition against public alcohol consumption, usually reserving citations for those who carry their drinks onto a sidewalk.

“Probably because we’re outnumbered,” Huskey said. “We’re not trying to stop everyone from drinking alcohol. But we’ve got an ordinance on the books and we need to enforce it. If you can’t drink there today, you can’t on Saturday. The rules don’t change.”

Besides public streets, sidewalks, playgrounds, school property and parks, which are all off-limits for alcohol, the operative clause of the ordinance in this instance is, “any privately owned parking lot held open to use by the public.”

By city attorney Ron Mills’ interpretation, that can include any lot owned by a restaurant, gas station, bank or other business where spaces often are rented out to tailgaters. But more important than who can rent the spaces, said Mills, is whether the general public still has access to the site.

Are the tailgaters in a particular lot allowed to invite their friends onto the property? Is the general public still allowed pedestrian access through the lot or is access controlled by a fence, an attendant or some other means?

Those will be some of the deciding factors, Mills said.

“Given the wording of the ordinance … ‘open to use by the public’ is pretty broad language,” said Mills, adding that the city beer code might be amended to include more specific definitions before next season’s first home game. “In some situations, it’s going to be a judgment call.”

One of the major differences that also might come into play is whether the parking lot is on or off campus. UT’s parking areas are public property — another site deemed off-limits under the city ordinance. And UT itself is officially a dry campus, according to school policy, and despite the obvious infractions seen on game days.

Huskey, however, said KPD has no plans to expand its crackdown that far and wide.

“Our focus is going to be on the (Cumberland Avenue) Strip,” he said. “We’re not there to tackle UT property. They’ve got their own police force.”

Huskey said the University of Tennessee Police Department would be briefed on KPD’s plan, but they’ll still leave it to campus police to exercise their own judgment.

KPD also plans to notify all Cumberland Avenue businesses with parking lots, and Huskey said he would personally deliver the notices so no one is surprised next fall.

“It’s not only UT fans,” Mills said. “It’s something that’s got to get out to the other schools as well.”

Hayes Hickman may be reached at 865-342-6323.

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Comments » 207

RJ_Vol writes:

Right.

RoyaltyVol writes:

Its about time!

TkelynN writes:

Hmm, sounds like SOMEBODY wants money....

alwaysorange81 writes:

Great...now all we have to do is crack down on the robberies and crack houses in the Fort Sanders district...oh wait theres drugs and prostitution over in western heights....oh hold on theres meth in south Knoxville....wait wait wait theres panhandlers on Gay St. Does the KPD have nothing better to do than enforce low priority city ordinance? While we're at it why don't we enforce the FELONY crimes being perpetrated in that same area every day. What a monumental waste of tax dollars. Oh watch out its the beer police. How about serving and protecting instead of irritating and annoying.

suPEARLman writes:

*rolling eyes while typing this*

I see this stopping alot of people from drinking.

suPEARLman writes:

Good points alwaysorange.

kevin151 writes:

got an open container when i was in school, and later on that day I saw the same cop stop a guy and tell him to poor his beer out... screw kpd

alwaysorange81 writes:

Thanx supearl I get a little hot under the collar over inefficient allocation of resources.

jturne44 writes:

man KPD are the worst...WHILE OUR STUDENTS GET ROBBED AND HELD AT GUN POINT, the money hungry, dishonorable, corrupt cops known as KPD are going to try and make a little extra on some people enjoying BIG ORANGE COUNTRY...there goes the best college tailgating experience in the world...thanks guys...how about you worry about knoxville's crime and let UTPD take care of what goes on before UT's games...it's not KNOXVILLE COLLEGE fellas...

alwaysorange81 writes:

KPD should try and keep their news off of a UT sports site. UT fans expect excellence and do not tolerate circus stunts like this. I know its just posting on the internet but this forms public opinion of the organization and that opinion was already poor. much like the physical fitness of most KPD officers I see around.

law_vol writes:

Good questions not asked/answered by this article:

1) Why the sudden change in the police department's approach?
2) Why is the drinking in parking lots a growing problem? Has there been an increasing trend in alcohol related crimes/incidents in the area?
3) How much money will the department make off each violation?
4) How did you just figure out that there is an ordinace?
5) What procedures are you going to have in place to make those "judgment calls?"
6) ARE YOU FREAKIN KIDDING ME?

volsboy1983 writes:

who cares they cant stp 120,000 people from drankin if we all do anyways so screw the piggies i have had them drink a glass of crown with me b4 and yes it was a uniformed KPD officer they are just saying this b/c they have to some butthead got on there back this offseason and wants something done about it on the strip they dont care about where the real taigaters sit.

Bloodrunzorange writes:

This is an outage! LOL!!! Like he said "we're outnumbered". Keep it on the down low, don't be stupid and have fun! There will be a different feeling in the air on Rocky Top this year. Maybe we will not have to get so torn up next year to watch our football team. You might see proper tackling (that will be different), blocking (wow) and execution(wait and see). You don't want to miss that being drunk...do you? When is the last time you knew we were going to kick the other teams butt...sober? Let's take back Neyland stadium...and remember it for ever! Go Vols and Go CLK!

cjraney writes:

Great, let's just cancel Christmas too.

As important as gamedays are to the local economy one would think somebody might propose changing the ordinance to accommodate 100k fans.

rockytopatl writes:

This is yet another attempt by the KnoxNazis to squeeze all the fun out of the UT football experience. Their selective enforcement of this ordinance has already been legendary over the years. There is no reason for this other than greed by the city of Knoxville. They need to concentrate on directing traffic and working accidents. Let fans be fans.

The story doesn't say if they are going to continue the plastic cup scam or not. Their current practice is to ignore the thousands who drink their beer from a plastic cup, yet bust those who instead carry a can or a bottle onto their sacred strip. It's like searching the fans entering the stadium and confiscating their booze while the trucks haul tons of legal booze into the sky boxes. Knoxville hypocrisy at its best.

TxFatBoy writes:

My guess is that too many people getting liquored up and causing problems. Rarely do you see a response like this unless there has been something to cause people to FOCUS on it. A few years ago after Bama beat UT at home a FAMILY with their kids was walking back to their vehicle wearing their Bama colors. 3 drunk college age guys started cursing at them and threatening them with violence! My friend and I escorted them back to their car and I explained that "we hate Bama as much as the next guy...but there's no cause for that behavior!".

alwaysorange81 writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

99%???? just kiddin. thanks for the response and agree with your amendments to the argument. Is this the legacy of a losing season??

knoxtenor writes:

Next thing you know, they'll be outlawing drinking on campus and in the stadium and trying to enforce that. Oh, wait...

gohawks1 writes:

Buzz-killers....

volpreacher writes:

And alcohol makes it better? Some of you guys just need to grow up and realize that alcohol is not fun. I know I'll catch a lot of grief for this, but to do something that makes have impaired ability is stupid. Yes even last season would almost drive a preacher to drink, but it didn't. We can enjoy the Vols without alchohol. Go Vols and Merry Christmas to all.

TxFatBoy writes:

in response to volpreacher:

And alcohol makes it better? Some of you guys just need to grow up and realize that alcohol is not fun. I know I'll catch a lot of grief for this, but to do something that makes have impaired ability is stupid. Yes even last season would almost drive a preacher to drink, but it didn't. We can enjoy the Vols without alchohol. Go Vols and Merry Christmas to all.

Not giving you grief, but alcohol in MODERATION is no problem. The problem is that most young people and many that aren't so young do not know how to control their drinking and afterwards...their behavior.

volpreacher writes:

in response to TxFatBoy:

Not giving you grief, but alcohol in MODERATION is no problem. The problem is that most young people and many that aren't so young do not know how to control their drinking and afterwards...their behavior.

True. I stand corrected. Alcohol doesn't make the problem, it is the immature person on the end of the bottle that continues to drink when they shouldn't. Thanks for the correction.

volpreacher writes:

in response to Kosmo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

TxFatBoy writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Discretion is they key! The officers should use their "discretion" before they start passing out tickets. Hopefully they'll be able to do that.

TxFatBoy writes:

in response to Kosmo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

This explains why they are doing what they're doing! Just the response shows incredible immaturity. I bet your parents are proud of you!

volpreacher writes:

in response to TxFatBoy:

This explains why they are doing what they're doing! Just the response shows incredible immaturity. I bet your parents are proud of you!

My sentiments exactly.

SemperVol writes:

I don't really drink before the games because I enjoy paying attention to the games. That being said, I think this is a pretty lame attempt.

Kosmo apparently needs to be neutered. I've heard alot in my day.. but that would make Ron Jeremy blush.

TxFatBoy writes:

in response to Pablopeepants:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm sure having friends mugged is upsetting, but why are the MUGGERS called "2 knife wielding men" while the police officers are called "pigs"? While it is frustrating for criminals to get away with their crimes the police are likely NOT the ones who robbbed your friends!

I have 3 words for everyone there....CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE!

volpreacher writes:

in response to TxFatBoy:

I'm sure having friends mugged is upsetting, but why are the MUGGERS called "2 knife wielding men" while the police officers are called "pigs"? While it is frustrating for criminals to get away with their crimes the police are likely NOT the ones who robbbed your friends!

I have 3 words for everyone there....CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE!

TxFatboy, it's always someone elses fault didn't you know that? Seriously guys, I hate that anyone has been robbed, that's uncalled for too, but the police cannot be everywhere all the time. Should they concentrate on that area, perhaps. and they may have, but just haven't caught anyone. I wouldn't want a policeman's job. I have great admiration for them.

volpreacher writes:

in response to Banned:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'll take your ticket. And for one person like yourself that won't come, there will be two fans that will come to enjoy the game itself.

alwaysorange81 writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

hadnt considered the odd randy fan but totally agree. They need to be kept under control.

orangeblood writes:

buzz kill...

volpreacher writes:

in response to Banned:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

KPD,G-10 sounds like a good place to start.

alwaysorange81 writes:

in response to TxFatBoy:

This explains why they are doing what they're doing! Just the response shows incredible immaturity. I bet your parents are proud of you!

inappropriate

cdonsbach writes:

in response to Banned:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Far left? All the people in charge here claim to be far right!

volpreacher writes:

in response to alwaysorange81:

inappropriate

Truth hurts sometime. It was very appropriate.

RoyaltyVol writes:

in response to Kosmo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Did you ever stop and think that maybe its alcohol and drugs thats causing people to commit crimes? My dad died from being an alcoholic, and I never seen anything good come from alcohol, however in America you have the freedom to choose, but alcohol is always a bad choice. Its Christmas, choose Jesus instead, then you will not desire the alcohol! Merry Christmas!

alwaysorange81 writes:

in response to TxFatBoy:

I'm sure having friends mugged is upsetting, but why are the MUGGERS called "2 knife wielding men" while the police officers are called "pigs"? While it is frustrating for criminals to get away with their crimes the police are likely NOT the ones who robbbed your friends!

I have 3 words for everyone there....CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE!

That is called vigilantism and it causes more problems than solves. We dont need more guns or omni-present cops. We just need smart cops that can pick up on a pattern. Muggings and robberies in and around the Fort and Gay St. generally dont happen at noon or right before football games. I used to work in the First Tenn Building on Gay st. 3rd shift and saw nary a police man. 11pm to 6am is when the crime is going down but where are the police. No they dont have to be everywhere. Just where the crime is.

volpreacher writes:

in response to Banned:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No, didn't go to UT but I love UT sports. I actually talked my daughter out of going to UT this year so she wouldn't have to put up with stupidity like this. A drink is A drink. Getting drunk has no excuse but immaturity.

alwaysorange81 writes:

in response to volpreacher:

Truth hurts sometime. It was very appropriate.

sorry preacher...I didnt mean to quote you. I meant that Txfatboy post was inappropriate. Leave people's kids out of it crazy a55.

TxFatBoy writes:

in response to alwaysorange81:

inappropriate

I have a concern that you state MY response was inappropriate after reading his initial statement. It certainly makes one question YOUR judgement.

volpreacher writes:

in response to RoyaltyVol:

Did you ever stop and think that maybe its alcohol and drugs thats causing people to commit crimes? My dad died from being an alcoholic, and I never seen anything good come from alcohol, however in America you have the freedom to choose, but alcohol is always a bad choice. Its Christmas, choose Jesus instead, then you will not desire the alcohol! Merry Christmas!

Yes. Most definitely. When these guys find this out, their lives will be better.

GoVol writes:

Everyone get your guns before Obama takes office. We need to protect ourselves and fight back to the thugs that rob and steal from us. Shoot, then ask questions! (always fire twice so you can say the first one was a warning shot).

Now, as far as the KPD and the sudden enforcement of the open container law.....as always, inconsistency of the enforcement of anything will always be looked upon with discriminating eyes and deemed unfair.

theutvolunteers writes:

Great MORE GOVERNMENT! This is a free country. If they try to enforce this in G-10 I won't be coming back for a game next year. Hammy will really begin to lose the money. This country is going way too far left way too fast.

Typically people on the Right want to socially constrain you. Not the other way around. Hopefully the discretion in this "crack down" is pretty strong.

Go4Two writes:

in response to Banned:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

WO WO this is not a left issue this is right out of the Southern Baptist play book. Brought to you by the supporter of George and Dick

alwaysorange81 writes:

in response to TxFatBoy:

I have a concern that you state MY response was inappropriate after reading his initial statement. It certainly makes one question YOUR judgement.

The bugs in KNS's server OS have nothing to do with my judgment. And yes your comment was very inappropriate.

govolsxtra writes:

If KPD even tries to enforce this "ordinance on G-10" i might kill myself.

RoyaltyVol writes:

in response to et_vol_fan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I have never been to Neyland that I didn't have to put up with a drunk. Maybe I'm just sitting in the wrong areas.

RoyaltyVol writes:

in response to volpreacher:

Yes. Most definitely. When these guys find this out, their lives will be better.

Amen! I pray they find the Lord!

volpreacher writes:

in response to General_Watermelon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are correct, most are wild because of the strict discipline that they adhere at home. I tried to allow my kids to experience youth and not put a lot of strict guidelines as a lot of pastors do. Were they perfect, no, but turned out to be pretty good. I did tell mine if they got drunk or high and was arrested, they would spend their time in jail. Do the crime, pay the time. By the way, I was a preacher's kid to. Never drank the first drink or used any drugs. And my father was very strict.
But your point is well taken, no one is exempt. There are some who just don't have a clue.

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