Liquor stores and restaurants given compliance test
LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - The Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission partnered with the Wichita Mountains Prevention Network on Monday to see how well stores and restaurants in Lawton are doing when it comes not selling alcohol to minors.
The teens that volunteer are tested by ten random people before they tried to buy alcohol to make sure they don't look close to 21-years-old. Their goal is to see if the stores will sell to a minor, not test them. Todd Anthony, a senior agent with the Oklahoma ABLE commission said he tells them what to buy and along with a few rules.
"They have to be truthful and honest," he said. "They have to say 'yes, I'm under 21, yes I'm 18.' They have to show their true and correct ID. There's really no deception to it other than we're wanting the employees to recognize this is a youthful looking person. I need to check an ID, I need to follow the steps."
These tests are done quarterly to make sure the stores are following the law. Anthony said they really don't want to find any of the stores breaking the rules.
"If we wrote no tickets tonight, then I'd be happy," Anthony said. "I'd be thrilled because it would show that our businesses here are in compliance and that the efforts that we're putting forward in Comanche County are working."
Kim Booker with the WMPN said this is one of their strategies to get the number of underage drinking teens down. According to a study done by the Oklahoma Prevention Needs Assessment Survey, more than 63% of Comanche County high school seniors, who took the test in 2016, had consumed an alcoholic beverage in their life. Statewide that number is just over 65%.
The goals are to drive the numbers of teens drinking down and make sure stores and restaurants in Lawton are checking ID's and not serving to minors.
"Hopefully just reminding businesses to be thorough and remember that there may be kids coming in and trying to purchase underage," Anthony said. "So, if they're looking out for us, they're looking out for everybody."
Only one of the 17 businesses they tested today sold to one of the minors. The fail rate for the state is 30% and the fail rate in Lawton tonight was just 6%. The employee who sold to a minor during the test tonight was given a ticket by the ABLE Commission.
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