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City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero, Mayor
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For Immediate Release
City and KPD Announces Special Enforcement Plan for Sundown in the City

April 26, 2007 - Mayor Bill Haslam and Knoxville Police Department Captain David Rausch today announced a special enforcement plan designed to reduce underage drinking and maintain the family-friendly atmosphere at Sundown in the City.

The city and A.C. Entertainment, which organizes Sundown in the City, are cooperating in the effort.

Rausch said KPD officers have noticed an increase in underage drinkers at the first two Sundown events this year and this initiative is designed to prevent it from becoming a serious problem.

During the first two events officers arrested 10 people and cited 12 others for underage drinking.

An investigation into the problem revealed that underage drinkers weren't obtaining alcohol from event vendors on Market Square, but were already intoxicated by the time they arrived at Sundown.

Some were also slipping out to nearby parking garages to drink with friends in their vehicles.

David Rausch & KPD officers at Press Confernece
David Rausch leads a press conference on the new enforcement plan designed to reduce underage drinking and maintain the family-friendly atmosphere at Sundown in the City.

"This is something that I'm very concerned about," Haslam said. "We want everyone to have a good time at Sundown, but we are not going to allow underage drinking on Market Square or anywhere nearby."

Captain Rausch added, "This is a serious issue and one we intend to address swiftly and aggressively. Our officers will take a zero tolerance approach to anyone who is underage and is caught drinking."

Beginning with tonight's show additional officers, both uniformed and in plainclothes, will be present at Sundown. Underage drinkers will be arrested and transported to jail.

Anyone caught supplying alcohol to an underage person will also be arrested.

"These are great shows and we all have a good time at Sundown and this is not going to change that," Haslam said. "But we're seeing this trend toward more underage drinkers showing up at Market Square and we want to stop it before it becomes a problem and before someone gets hurt."

A.C. Entertainment is supportive of the city's plans and has created a program called "Sober at Sundown."

The grassroots campaign includes outreach to area middle and high schools as well as the University of Tennessee campus.

Anyone under 21 who pledges not to engage in underage drinking receives a Sober at Sundown button or t-shirt, and is eligible for rewards ranging from concert tickets to merchandise.

Sundown in the City performers have recorded public service announcements aimed at reducing underage drinking, which are currently airing on WUTK 90.3 and WMYU 93.1.

The increased police presence will be in place for each of the remaining Sundown performances this season.

For Immediate Release
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