School may be out for summer, but there is an awful lot of teaching and learning going on in Southern California businesses that sell alcoholic beverages. California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) agents have spent the past month checking more than 275 locations to ensure ABC licensees are following the law and being responsible about who is sold alcohol at their establishments.
"In the big picture, ABC agents are in the business of saving lives," said Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA), which represents ABC agents as well as nearly 7,000 other California law enforcement, public safety and consumer protection employees. "They work days, nights, weekends and holidays to educate business owners and to enforce ABC laws, all in an effort to keep Californians safe and alive. No one wants the under-age or the overly-intoxicated to get their hands on alcoholic beverages, that can be disastrous, if not deadly. Our ABC agents, and there are not enough of them, have a lot of ground to cover."
Most recently, ABC agents visited 62 business in Orange County, 40 in Los Angeles County, 27 in Kern County and 24 in San Bernardino County. The outreach is referred to an IMPACT operation. . IMPACT stands for Informed Merchants Preventing Alcohol-Related Crime Tendencies. The goal is to increase safety by educating licensees about the various ways they can help reduce alcohol-related crimes by not selling to underage or obviously intoxicated persons.
“The timing is good,” said ABC Director Timothy Gorsuch. “Students are out of school and more folks are driving on the highways and taking vacations. ABC wants to remind licensees of how critical it is for them to check identifications and not serve patrons who are intoxicated. This can help keep the highways safe and also increase youth safety when many of them have more free time now that schools are out for the summer months.”
ABC agents remind licensees of the responsibilities and accountability associated with the sale of alcoholic beverages. This is accomplished by identifying areas of non-compliance and providing crime prevention information. The focus is to educate rather than to enforce. Even though the teams are prevention oriented, members may take action against any major violations observed during the inspection/visits.