Alcohol Compliance Checks
Alcohol compliance checks are used to reduce youth access to alcohol. Compliance checks involve sending a buyer, who is between 18 and 20 years of age, into a licensed alcohol establishment. Law enforcement is right outside the establishment, or sometimes inside if it is a tavern. Supervisors over 21 years of age are also inside the establishment to look out for the safety of the buyer and serve as a witness.
Research leaves little doubt that compliance checks are an important part of community efforts to prevent and reduce underage drinking. A constantly changing group of teens and high levels of turnover among retailers requires ongoing employee education efforts; thus, vigilance is needed to keep compliance rates in an acceptable range. Research has found that younger teens typically pilfer alcohol from family and family friends, while older teens are likely to attempt alcohol purchases at off premise (Class A) retailers such as convenience stores or similar small retailers.
LCAT Alcohol Compliance Check Procedure:
*Youth buyers are recruited through high schools, local MATCs and local youth groups. Buyers are interviewed and have to pass an initial screening process. They can have no previous (non-traffic) citations or alcohol violations.
*Youth buyers are trained by the LCAT Project Coordinator and all paperwork is signed. The paperwork covers confidentiality, past citations or violations, rules of compliance check operations and how to conduct a compliance check. Youth buyers can NEVER purchase alcohol without law enforcement in an establishment with them/right outside the door.
*Two youth buyers and a supervisor meet up with law enforcement. The Lodi Police Department and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department work with LCAT on compliance check operations. All buyers are photographed to document their appearance at the time of the operation. Buyers use their own IDs for purchasing/attempting to purchase alcohol.
*Any alcohol sold from a convenience store or any carry out establishment is handed over immediately to law enforcement. Alcohol purchased in a tavern is left behind in the establishment.
*Immediately after a sale, or at the end of the evening, law enforcement goes into the establishment and issues a citation TO THE CLERK WHO SOLD. In the City of Lodi, an establishment will accrue 50 demerit points for selling to an underage person. Letters indicating a failed compliance check are sent to the town or city boards for review during license renewal.
*Pass/Fail letters are sent to every business checked for compliance. Pass/fail rates are recorded in an online data base.