New State Grant Will Allow IPD to Step Up Liquor Control Enforcement Efforts
For Immediate Release: October 2, 2017
Beginning October 1, 2017, the Independence Police Department will receive an increase in a Missouri Department of Transportation state grant to conduct liquor compliance checks from the amount of $7,000 up to $33,920. This grant is used to ensure that businesses are not selling alcoholic beverages to minors.
With the previous grant amount, IPD was only able to check each business that sells alcoholic beverages in the city about once per year. This new grant amount will allow police officers to check each business about three to four times each year. As an auxiliary duty, Independence police officers are paid by this grant to work these compliance checks outside their regularly assigned duty hours.
Violators that are observed selling alcohol to minors face serious consequences. In additional to immediately receiving a summons from the police officer, the seller and business must also deal with both city and state liquor licensing repercussions. These may include fines and liquor license suspensions.
Compliance checks are conducted under strict guidelines. In order to comply with the Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco, officers must adhere to state-mandated procedures while conducting these checks. IPD officers use minors, ages 18–19 years old, in these undercover investigations. Additional procedures cover the selection and training process of undercover minors, as well as how the undercover checks operate. Police officers follow the CSR 70-2.280 Guidelines for Using Minors in Intoxicating Liquor Investigations. Using minors for this kind of enforcement is covered under RsMO 311.722.
The purpose of the compliance checks is to save lives by reducing teen alcohol related deaths. According to the CDC, Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States. Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year, and cost the U.S. $24 billion in economic costs in 2010. Although drinking by persons under the age of 21 is illegal, people aged 12 to 20 years drink 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the United States. In 2010, there were approximately 189,000 emergency rooms visits by persons under age 21 for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol.
In 2017, year to date, IPD has checked 166 establishments and have found 19 violations, resulting in an 89 percent compliance rate. In all of 2016, 204 businesses were checked with 13 violations, resulting in a 94 percent compliance rate.
With the additional funding, IPD will be able to have a more pro-active approach to ensure local businesses are in compliance with local and state laws regarding alcohol sales to minors.