The Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (BLCE) conducted Age Compliance Checks  at licensed establishments Tuesday in Pike County.


The Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (BLCE) conducted Age Compliance Checks  at licensed establishments Tuesday in Pike County.
 The BLCE stopped at four establishments during Tuesday’s check. One establishment failed the check after serving the underage buyer alcoholic beverages, but the name is disclosed until an official citation is issued to the licensee. 
The licensed establishments that did not serve the underage buyer were: The Tom Quick Inn, Milford; The Grill, Matamoras; and A.J.’s Fireplace, Tafton.
Employees of compliant establishments did ask the underage buyer to produce identification, and after reviewing the identification, recognized the buyer was underage and refused service, according to the BLCE.
Compliance Checks are performed based on the number of underage drinking complaints received by the BLCE, and the number of licensed entities (bars, restaurants, distributors, etc.) in each county. Wayne County has 102 licensed entities, compared with Luzerne County which has 841, and Susquehanna County which has 67. The Wilkes-Barre District Office supervises a total of 2113 licenses in the eight county area.
The BLCE has not yet performed an Age Compliance Check in Wayne County this year. “We will look at Wayne County in comparison with the other counties,” said Sgt. Severns.
How it’s done
When conducting an Age Compliance Check, the BLCE uses supervised underage buyers who attempt to purchase alcoholic beverages. Police ask college students or interns interested in a career in law enforcement to participate. By law, the candidates must be at least 18 years old.
Candidates go through an application and screening process, and then are trained to perform the duty. Sgt. Severns stressed that the State Police strive to keep the candidates out of harm’s way. “It’s a very controlled situation. We only send them into establishments which hold licenses,” said Sgt. Severns. “We do not send them to private gatherings or underage parties,” he said.
The underage buyer enters the establishment and attempts to make the purchase. An undercover enforcement officer is already present to supervise the interaction. When asked for identification, the underage buyer uses his or her own ID, which shows that they are underage.
“Sometimes the employees ask for ID, look at it, and still serve the underage buyer,” said Sgt. Severns. “Sometimes, the employee doesn’t know how to properly read an ID,” he said.
Fines issued to establishments which fail Age Compliance checks amount to $1,250. The employee who serves the underage buyer receives no fine, but can face repercussions from the owner of the establishment.
“The fine is geared toward educating the licensee,” said Sergeant Gary S. Severns, District Office Commander in Wilkes-Barre, which covers eight counties in the Northeast region. “The licensee is responsible for their employees,” he said.
Since 2005, the State Police-Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement has conducted 5,011 compliance checks state-wide, with 2,947 establishments following compliance laws and 2,064 establishments failing compliance laws.
Go to www.lce.state.pa.us for more information about the PA State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement’s programs, activities and statistics. Further question or requests should be directed to the District Office Commander, Sergeant Gary S. Severns at (570)826-2370 during business hours.