COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Alex Waelde's latest idea has really taken off.
"The server got like 16,000 requests in like ten seconds," he said.
Years ago, he created a Twitter account called Drinking Ticket – an account that points out DUI checkpoints and passes along other tips to students. Now, Drinking Ticket has a partner.
"It's IsSLEDOut.com, and it was mainly created to dispel a lot of the rumors that plagued the Five Points districts," Waelde explained.
It's a simple website designed to let students and others find out one thing: Is the State Law Enforcement patrolling and writing tickets in Five Points
on any given night?
Waelde believes the answer will be 'no' most of the time.
"This whole image that SLED is down here locking up people and throwing them in the police vans every night of the week is just a farce," Waelde said.
But, could the website have bigger implications? Could it encourage law-breaking, underage drinking, even drunk driving? Waelde thinks it'll have the
"When [I] hear that there's, you know, DUI checkpoints and stuff like that out, they literally – again, as terrible as this sounds – I'll have kids that'll tell me, 'Well, ****! I was going to drive to that pre-game, but now I'm going to take an Uber. If I had a nickel for every time I heard that phrase," he said.
So how does SLED feel about a site that could uncover undercover enforcement? SLED Chief Mark Keel was asked to give their thoughts.
"Anything anyone wants to do to deter underage drinking and violation of alcohol laws, we're for it, so if they want to continue to put the word out that
they're out and about, that's good news," he said.
But Keel offers a reminder. The website, which relies on tips, might not always be right.
"I think there's certainly a percentage of young people that are out there, and they're looking for that pass, you know, and they think if they can look
on that website and say, 'Well, we're clear to go tonight.' But, you never know," the chief said with a grin. "We may just surprise them."
Meanwhile, Laura Hudson with the South Carolina Crime Victims' Council offered her take. She said the website might seem like fun and games to some. But she called it a game that can easily turn deadly.