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NABCA LEGAL SYMPOSIUM. State and Local Enforcers Working Together. A Tidal Wave of Alcohol-Related Harm. 3170 deaths 300,ooo DWI crashes 540,o00 violent crimes 1.2 million property crimes 400,000 risky sexual encounters 100,000 alcohol poisonings & psychoses

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nabca legal symposium


State and Local Enforcers

Working Together

a tidal wave of alcohol related harm
A Tidal Wave of Alcohol-Related Harm
  • 3170 deaths
  • 300,ooo DWI crashes
  • 540,o00 violent crimes
  • 1.2 million property crimes
  • 400,000 risky sexual encounters
  • 100,000 alcohol poisonings & psychoses
  • 70,000 kids in alcohol treatment

Miller, T.R. (2009) Societal Costs of Underage Drinking

the response
The Response
  • Prevention experts agree that strengthening and enforcing alcohol sales and service regulations is an effective strategy for reducing alcohol-related harm.

*Source: World Health Organization, Institute of Medicine, CDC Community Guide, Join Together Online

state alcohol l aw enforcement resources
  • 35 states have ABC officers who are sworn peace officers
  • The average number of ABC agents that primarily enforce alcohol laws per state: 54
  • Average number of licensed retail outlets per state: 14, 112
  • Range of ABC agents per state: 3 to 260
  • National ratio: 1 agent for every 268 licensed establishments

Source: Ramirez , PIRE - 2007

alcohol enforcement





Licensed community Increased awareness and perception of penalty

Increased licensee compliance

Reduced alcohol related harm

facing political challenges
Facing Political Challenges
  • State agencies are often under funded by those elected to public office and who vote for budgets. “Can’t the local police do this job?” (State of Maine)
  • There are rarely have enough resources to get the job done adequately.
  • Generally, we do not do a good job of making the connection between our enforcement role and public safety, public welfare and quality of life.
combating negative perceptions
Combating Negative Perceptions
  • The enforcement of statutes and regulations that seem to lack importance! (“What’s the big deal?”)
  • We often don’t do a good job at explaining our role and responsibility to those who give us oversight. (legislators - the public)
  • Advocating for the adoption of rules and regulations that are often unenforceable and paint us into a corner. “If we enforce these provisions as written then everyone will be in violation.”
challenges to collaborative enforcement
Challenges to Collaborative Enforcement
  • Statutory authority for enforcement of alcohol laws (exclusive or joint authority to enforce).
  • Administrative Process – potentially challenging for traditional law enforcement who are more accustom to trials and motor vehicle hearings.
  • Adjudications and Penalties – Law enforcement may shy away from enforcement is they perceive the penalties do not match effort put into the enforcement of alcohol laws.
a perfect storm missouri
A Perfect Storm - Missouri
  • The Missouri legislature has cut over $1 million from its Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, leaving 5 agents to monitor 12,000 liquor licenses, the Associated Press reported June 14, 2010.
  • The burden will now be on local law enforcement to bridge the regulatory gap -- checking licenses and monitoring the sale of alcohol to minors -- a task police officials say stresses an already overextended police force.
  • "Everyone knows we don\'t have the funds to continue the way we were before," said Sen. Kurt Schaefer, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "We can only enforce what we can afford to enforce.“
case study maine
Case Study - Maine

Michelle Robert

Assistant Attorney General

State of Maine

Tom Roth


Westbrook Maine Police