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11.2008

Massachusetts Beverage Business

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ABCC 2OO8 LIQUOR ENFORCEMENT AGENCY OF THE YEAR.

The Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission’s
Enforcement Division
has been recognized by
the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association
as the
2OO8
Liquor Enforcement Agency
 of the Year.


THE NATIONAL LIQUOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ASSOCIATION
(NLLEA)  is an association of law enforcement agencies in the United States and Canada dedicated to liquor law enforcement.
This year the Liquor Enforcement Agency of the Year award was given to the Massachusetts ABCC Enforcement Division for its multifaceted approach to preventing underage access to alcohol, impaired driving, hazardous drinking, illegal gambling, and drug use.
Since 2OO3, when the Legislature transferred oversight of the ABCC to Treasurer Tim Cahill’s office, through the current date, the agency has seen the number of liquor complaints received on an annual basis decrease from between 2O% to 5O%. This decrease is credited to the aggressive liquor enforcement activity that has resulted in an increase of liquor violations of 35% over the 2OO2 level.

underage drinking prevention and enforcement programs
While Massachusetts has the country’s 3rd lowest ratio of enforcement agents to bars, ABCC Enhanced Liquor Enforcement Programs such as “Operation Safe Campus”, “Operation Safe Prom & Graduation”, “Operation Safe Summer”, and “Operation Safe Holidays” have been crucial to the public safety of the Commonwealth by allowing the agency to triple its enforcement efforts.
Since 2OO5, Investigators have conducted these programs with the following results: 31OO minors in possession, transporting or attempting to purchase alcoholic beverages; 16OO adults were found to be procuring alcohol for minors; 35O individuals in possession of false identification; and 16OO cases of beer and 11OO bottles of alcoholic beverages were confiscated or prevented from delivery by ABCC Investigators. Based on the national standard for determining “binge drinking”, the confiscating of this alcohol prevented delivery to approximately 22,1OO underage individuals.


PARENT NOTIFICATION PROGRAM
For several years, the Enforcement Division applied for criminal complaints for underage individuals found in possession of alcoholic beverages or false identification. This process resulted in a negative experience for many families and a criminal record for several underage individuals. Under the direction of Treasurer Cahill, the Division implemented its “Parent Notification” program and has found it to be a tremendous success. Investigators call parents from liquor store parking lots or bars and inform them of the situation their child is in. Most parents are completely unaware that their children are involved in the use of alcohol and many drive to the location to pick them up and bring them home. Investigators have found that this type of intervention is a powerful tool toward a long-term family involvement in addressing the problem of underage drinking.


DRUNK DRIVING PREVENTION
This program, known as “Operation Last Call”, focuses on preventing intoxicated individuals from getting on the road as well as deterring bar owners from serving the potential drunk drivers. This past year the Enforcement Division developed a report of bars that were the top 3O “worst offenders” of bars that had been identified as being associated with the highest number of OUI convictions. The Enforcement Division cited 24 of those bars with selling alcohol to an intoxicated person and arranged safe transportation or protective custody for the intoxicated person. The bars were located in 22 municipalities in Suffolk, Middlesex, Worcester, Essex, Franklin, Bristol, Hampden, and Norfolk counties. The 2OO8 data to date demonstrates a dramatic reduction (95%) in the number of OUIs originating from the bars that had been subject to the intensive liquor enforcement.


ABCC Investigators Training Local and State Law Enforcement Officers
The Enforcement Division works with Massachusetts Police Academies and Police Departments to educate local and state law enforcement officers in the enforcement of the Massachusetts Liquor Control Act as well as False Identification and Fraudulent Document Detection. This training enhances the prevention of underage drinking and drunk driving by developing local police department knowledge of and involvement in liquor law enforcement. The objective of this program is to maximize liquor law enforcement across the Commonwealth. Since 2OO5, the Enforcement Division has conducted over 16O classes for approximately 15O local and state law enforcement agencies and approximately 32OO officers.


ILLEGAL GAMBLING ENFORCEMENT
Under the direction of Treasurer Cahill, the Enforcement Division has conducted numerous enforcement operations against illegal gambling at bars throughout the Commonwealth. The primary focus of these investigations is the illegal use of electronic poker machines for the purpose of illegal gambling. The ABCC receives numerous complaints from individuals whose husbands, wives or relatives have lost their weekly paycheck in these machines.
Since oversight of the ABCC was transferred to Treasurer Cahill, the Agency has prosecuted approximately 6O bars for illegal gambling. The ABCC estimates that each bar that illegally operates these machines, and the vending companies that supply them, garner up to $1O,OOO per week in unreported income. At one bar Investigators uncovered information detailing machine income of $896,235, machine payouts of $584,9O5, and a net profit of $311,328. This is income that should be going to the State Lottery so that the income retained will go back to the cities and towns of the Commonwealth for public safety and educational programs.


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