Sheriff’s Office holds underage alcohol sting

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Anderson County Sheriff John Skipper and the Sheriff’s Director of Community Services, Lloyd Robison, recently announced the results of the agency’s Operation Right Choice.

According to Robison, the focus of the campaign was to target retail establishments in Anderson County where the access to alcohol is made available to minors. Robison stated that the citizens of Anderson County need to be made aware of the accessibility of alcohol to underage kids, and retailers need to understand their responsibilities as vendors.

Director Robison discussed the overall plan of the operation, including the compliance checklist used, the procedures followed, and the results.

He indicated that the team of eight (8) officers conducted 96 compliance checks at convenience stores, drug stores, grocery stores, and liquor stores over a four day period, from Wednesday, April 16th through Saturday, April 19th.

All of the participating officers were certified by the State as Alcohol Enforcement Team (AET) members.

The officers conducted the checks by utilizing undercover confidential informants. The informants ranged from 15 to 19 years of age, well below the State’s legal age of 21 to legally obtain beer and liquor. The informants were volunteers from area schools. Each student/informant underwent a background check and each received parental consent.

Of the 96 locations checked, 13 businesses (clerks) were cited for the Sale of Beer to a Minor or the Sale of Liquor to a Minor. That translates to a 13.5% rate of illegal sales to minors. Robison went on to mention that in one case, a 15 year old undercover informant was able to purchase a bottle of Vodka.

Sheriff Skipper discussed the State law and the legal ramifications on the businesses which choose to violate the State requirements.

He stated that citations are not written to the business but to the store clerk who actually makes the sale. He also indicated that the Sheriff’s Office keeps a list of issued citations and after 3 violations at the same business within a period of 3 months, SLED is notified. It is up to SLED to take action against the business owner.

Sheriff Skipper reiterated the importance of this type of operation and commended the team for their efforts.