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Reducing Alcohol Sales to Underage Purchasers: A Practical Guide to Compliance Investigations

NCJ Number
Mark Willingham
Date Published
April 2010
56 pages
This guide provides guidelines and operational information on reducing sales of alcohol to underage purchasers through compliance investigations of alcohol retailers.
In discussing the rationale for conducting compliance investigations, this guide notes that such investigations help reduce the commercial availability of alcohol to minors, prevent problems before they occur, and promote voluntary compliance among retail sellers of alcoholic beverages. Suggestions for using underage volunteers in compliance checks encompass the recruitment and selection of such volunteers, legal considerations, the appearance of such volunteers, their training, their documentation, compensation, relationship to police officers involved in the investigation, and insurance. In discussing the planning of compliance investigations, this guide focuses on working with community leaders, working with the judicial and regulatory system, the selection of locations, when to conduct the investigations, the frequency of investigations, the use of volunteers' ID, truthful answers by volunteers to clerks, the number of volunteers, and what the buyer should attempt to purchase. Other topics discussed in this planning section of the guide are the amount of alcohol to be purchased, the purchase of other items along with the alcohol, and scheduling. Other sections of the guide address operational procedures, working with the media, and future considerations. 4 references and 4 annotated resources