Sheriff: We’ll be checking for alcohol sales to minors in the next few months
Among the various complaints that I receive throughout the year are those related to underage patrons frequenting our licensed establishments throughout the county.
Just as in any industry, there are those businesses that are diligent to the adherence to the law and others that do not take their responsibility seriously.
The issue of alcohol licensing and enforcement is an interesting one, as it relies on the shared responsibility between the municipality in which the business is located and the law enforcement agency of that community. It requires communication to make sure that both entities are informed so that they can make effective decisions in regard to license enforcement as well as license renewals.
The state statute which covers the laws related to licensed establishments is found in Chapter 125 and covers everything from hours of business to the various types of licenses and the limitations of those licenses.
While the respective municipality is responsible for issuance and renewals, law enforcement is primarily tasked with compliance. As I stated earlier, we many times follow up on specific complaints by paying a visit to the business in question and verifying the presence of those not allowed by law, as well as verifying that the proper permits are clearly posted and those serving are properly licensed.
Occasionally we must conduct a more broad verification process to verify that those licensed establishments are indeed compliant without having any specific concerns or focus. This will be the case throughout the next few months.
We will be utilizing individuals not of legal age to enter the various establishments in an attempt to purchase alcohol. Again, we are not focusing on any specific establishment and hope that our efforts are met with proper action by those behind the bar or counter in refusing these young individuals any service. If, in fact, the proper action is not taken by the licensed server, we will then have a conversation with both the owner and the employee and citations may be issued.
It is not our intention to surprise or trick any of our valued local businesses, which is why I am making this issue the topic of this article, so that our future actions are well known and understood.
It is my hope that the various business owners will take this opportunity to meet with their employees and review with them their obilgations and requirements as part of their licensing. We would like nothing better than to conduct these checks only to find that these underage individuals were refused each and every time at each and every location.
If any businesses would like more information on the various laws pertaining to their licenses, there is a great handbook (Publication 302) which can be found on the Wisconsin Department of Revenue Website, www.revenue.wi.gov.
Matt Joski is Kewaunee County Sheriff.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Sheriff: We'll be checking for alcohol sales to minors in the next few months