Albany fights underage drinking -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany fights underage drinking

September 5, 2002

Albany- Albany Police are establishing a community coalition to fight underage drinking. They have applied for a state grant of more than $70,000 to battle people under 21 drinking alcoholic beverages.

This year, the Albany Dougherty Drug Unit has been checking stores and restaurants, to see if they will sell alcohol to people under 21. Fifty-five percent of the stores sold the drinks to undercover officers. Two stores have had their alcohol licenses suspended for selling to minors.

Police want to step up their enforcement of drinking age laws. Albany Police Chief Bobby Johnson said "Persons under the age who drink don't perform as well at school. Often get involved in negative activities such as fighting, and activities that would lead to criminal activity. We also recognize that these kids are involved in a number of crashes."

The Albany Dougherty County Enforcing Underage Drinking Law coalition held their first meeting in July. Police have their fingers crossed they will earn a $70,000 grant from the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.

They will use most of the money to educate businesses and teens about underage drinking laws. Start up money will be used to buy surveillance equipment to make sure those laws are complied with.

Chief Johnson said "We are enforcing this, and it is our responsibility to make sure our most prized human resources are protected."

The State Grant will be awarded in October, and city leaders feel good about earning it.

Juvenile Court Statistics show that arrests for minors possessing alcohol in Dougherty County increased 29 percent in 2001.

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