Minors help Oklahoma ABLE Commission crack down on underage drinking

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Reported by: Brittany Jeffers
Updated: 5/02/2013 9:13 am Published: 5/01/2013 10:31 pm

The Oklahoma ABLE Commission along with the Osage County Sheriff’s Office will hold a two-day training for police officers on alcohol laws, identifying fake ID’s, conducting underage buys.

Law enforcement from five different counties attended the session in Pawhuska. On Wednesday, the officers conducted undercover buys throughout Osage County to get hands-on experience on how to conduct those types of investigations. 

FOX23 crews went along with officers as they conducted practice compliance checks at area bars, convenience stores, liquor stores and restaurants.

Senior Agent with ABLE Commission, Erik Smoot, tells FOX23 the exercise is helpful for training officers and reinforces the importance of enforcing underage drinking laws.

“If they sell alcohol to a minor that is a felony, a $2500 dollar fine and 5 years in jail,” said Smoot, “If they sell low point beer it is a misdemeanor and one year in jail.”

Minors volunteered to help the ABLE investigation with their training exercise and went undercover to see if the establishment would sell alcohol to them.  The ABLE commission split up into groups and visited 22 locations throughout Osage County.

Smoot says because not all of the officers have jurisdiction in Osage County they would issue warnings to any establishment that would have sold alcohol to a minor.

“Its good practice,’ said Smoot, “We want them to be very comfortable when they go home.”

FOX23 accompanied the officers to establishments in Wynona and Hominy.

Brandy Stotts is a clerk at a Wynona Convenience store who refused to sell one of the teenager’s beer during one of the compliance checks.

“I always I-D no matter what,” said Stotts.

Three locations in Hominy were issued a warning for not enforcing the underage drinking laws.

The ABLE Commission says practice compliance checks were conducted at 22 locations in Osage County, and four of the locations were issued warnings.

Smoot says on Thursday a mock underage drinking party will be set up and officers will be required to show the skills that they learned in safely dispersing this type of event

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