July 16, 2003
Agents of the state Alcohol Beverage Control division are doing their part to help businesses learn how to better spot fake identification cards that far too many underage people are using to buy beer and booze. The way we see it, the ABC, other law enforcement personnel and communities at large have to combine resources if Mississippi is to truly crack down on the problem of underage drinking.
Pat Daily, agent in charge of ABC's District 2 in the Tupelo area, said in addition to the training for permitted businesses serving alcohol, the agency has implemented a Cops in Shops program in which agents will pose as business employees checking identification.
The program, a cooperative effort between alcohol retailers and law enforcement, is aimed at identifying and arresting minors attempting to purchase alcohol and adults who supply alcohol to minors. Officials said the new sessions come at a time when computer scanners and identification offered through the Internet are making the task of detecting fake IDs more difficult.
Mississippi towns that are home to higher education institutions will be a major focus of the Cops in Shops program, as well as restaurants, concerts, bars and special events.
Responsible liquor and beer companies have the same interest in stopping underage drinking as does law enforcement. We like the partnership approach in this effort to solve what appears to be a growing problem in Mississippi.