By Tamas Mondovics and Denise Woods
The Johnson County Sherriff’s Department in collaboration with Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission and the A.C.T.I.O.N Coalition Inc., conducted alcohol compliance checks among seven businesses licensed to sell alcoholic beverages in the region.
Compliance checks of licensed establishments are conducted on a regular basis. To prevent underage sales of alcoholic beverages, TABC law enforcement agents use minor decoys who attempt to purchase alcohol from TABC licensed establishments including restaurants, bars, liquor stores, and retail stores.
Minor compliance checks are an integral part of protecting our youth against underage drinking by ensuring that licensed establishments comply with the state laws against sales of alcohol to minors.
“The goal is to prevent the sale of alcohol to minors before
tragedy strikes.”Chief Law
ACTION Coalition would like to commend local businesses including Big Louis’, Doe Valley Food Mart, Dollar General (Butler) who demonstrated responsible alcohol sales during the recent compliance checks.
“Compliance checks are an effective environmental strategy in reducing underage drinking,” said Denise Woods, with ACTION Coalition. “Underage drinking contributes to car crashes, injuries, vandalism, unwanted sexual encounters, teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and death by alcohol poisoning as well as a risk of developing alcohol use disorders. By themselves, compliance checks will not eliminate youth access to alcohol. However, when combined with a comprehensive community approach, they can help keep alcohol out of the hands of kids.”
Statistics have shown that compliance checks help to reduce the percentages on non-compliant retailers statewide.
According to the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission, 1663 compliance checks in 2015 showed a 22 percent non-compliance rate, while in 2018 the 1696 compliance checks showed a drop to a 13 percent non-compliance rate.
The Tennessee Highway safety commission awarded a $125,000 grant to the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission in December 2018 to prevent traffic-related deaths and injuries by addressing the illegal sale of alcohol to minors (under 21 years of age).
“The goal is to prevent the sales of alcohol to minors before tragedy strikes,” said Chief Law Enforcement Officer Bond Tubbs. “These funds from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office allow us to allocate more resources to the prevention of sales to minors, and in turn, help prevent traffic collisions and traffic-related deaths that might result from underage drinking.”
TABC will use grant funds to deploy law enforcement personnel to areas of the state that have experienced a significant number of DUI related arrests and collisions. It will also assign agents to work at high profile events such as festivals, sporting events, and concerts.
Selling alcohol to a minor not only affects the minor and the clerk but also the business. The Sheriff’s Department and Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission initiated citations to one business notifying them of failing to comply with TN laws regarding the sale of alcohol to minors. Retailers who sell to an underage buyer are referred to the Johnson County Beer Board for failing to comply with the state’s alcohol laws.
Responsible Beverage Server Training is available through the A.C.T.I.O.N Coalition to any outlet or individual that serves or sells alcohol. The five-hour training goes into depth about behavior cues and intoxication rate factors of intoxication, Dram Shop Liability, and Common Negligence laws, B.A.C, tolerance, alcohol proof amounts, and proper ID checking.
Responsible Beverage Server Training can also reduce insurance costs for the outlet and possibility reduces fines imposed through the courts.
For more information, please call 423-727-0780. Denise Woods is the Prevention Coordinator at A.C.T.I.O.N Coalition, Inc. in Mountain City.