Nabca legal symposium
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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

A unique and diverse mission

A Unique and Diverse Mission

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

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