Is new training deterring alcohol sales to minors? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Is new training deterring alcohol sales to minors?

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December 30, 2003

Albany--Stopping underage alcohol sales in Albany.

Albany's Enforcing Underage Drinking Law Coordinator Tracy King says, "I believe the next sting operation you will see a big decline."

Is the new, mandatory training already working?

On September 23rd, the city adopted a new policy requiring everyone who sells alcohol to undergo training and get a new I.D. card.

They had three months to do that. Times up--now every store clerk, bartender and waitress that sells or serves alcohol should have had the training. But, is it working to deter alcohol sales to minors?

Liquor sales at the Warehouse are booming this holiday. But, one thing is for sure--if you are under 21 you won't be able to buy alcohol here. Manager Louis Bernard says, "We do everything in our power to make our employees understand they will have a criminal record, they will be fined and they could go to jail if they sell to minors."

That's information the Warehouse employees were taught in a new training course mandated by the city. But Bernard says, "We go above and beyond that though, we have our own training in place in order to pass these sting operations."

Undercover police have busted multiple stores this year for selling or serving alcohol to minors. "We actually had a sting last night. We set up surveillance at nine locations to look for under aged buyers going in and then checking their I.D.'s as they were coming out," says Dougherty County District Attorney Ken Hodges.

The Enmark location on North Slappey was one of the spots under surveillance Monday night--not one of the nine stores was caught selling to minors. Hodges is pleased, but warns that one good night doesn't mean the stings will stop, "We will be out during the holidays and I want the clerks and the kids to know this. We will be out in force and we are going to be making attempted purchases to try to stop kids from purchasing alcohol."

It's too early to tell if the new training or the well-publicized stings is helping curb clerks from selling to minors. But, stores like the Warehouse say they are obeying the law. People who sell or serve alcohol who have not gotten the required training or applied for the new I.D. card could be fined.

Posted at 6:57 p.m. by melissa.kill@fwalb.com