Ohio Investigative Unit Compliance Checks Finds Rising Underage Alcohol Sales

Alcohol compliance checks performed in Fulton County throughout the summer turned up disappointing results. Twenty-four Fulton County businesses were checked for illegal liquor sales by the Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU), a division of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, with one business being checked twice. This countywide sweep resulted in twenty instances in which minors were denied the sale of alcohol and five instances of minors being served alcohol.
During the compliance checks, a trained informant under the age of twenty-one attempts to purchase alcohol while an officer waits in an outside area away from view of those inside the store. The purpose of the checks is to ensure that local retailers with liquor licenses are requiring proper identification and selling alcohol only to those age 21 and older, in compliance with the law.
This round of checks shows the percentage of compliance has gone down 5% as compared to the previous results from the winter of 2011. For December 2011, Fulton County businesses stood at 85% compliant and our results of the 2012 summer checks found 80% compliant. This is the lowest percent compliance with Ohio’s Underage Alcohol Laws that we have seen in the last 2 years. “Our goal is to see 100% compliance. Any establishment selling to someone underage is concerning,” said Keith Torbet, Wauseon Police Chief and Chairman of the Healthy Choices Caring Communities (HC3) Law Task Force.
In order to help retail establishments comply with Ohio’s laws, our county coalition, HC3, works with OIU to bring the Alcohol Server Knowledge (ASK) Program to Fulton County. This voluntary training is provided at least yearly in Fulton County. Often, this training is replicated in our county several times during the year as requested. The ASK training provides instruction on laws pertaining to the sale and/or consumption of alcohol and tobacco, false identification and penalties for those found in violation. These trainings are free and recommended to any business that sells alcohol. According to Raymond Rodriguez, Ohio Investigative Unit, Agent in Charge, “We want to make sure that all business owners with a liquor license and their employees are trained on Ohio’s Laws regarding alcohol and tobacco sales.” Two identical ASK trainings were held on Monday, October 29th in the Administration Building Conference Room and 38 persons were in attendance.
During this round of checks, the following retailers were compliant with these laws:

Archbold Sunoco, 1500 S Defiance St
Archbold SuperValu, 1925 S Defiance St
Circle K, 103 N Defiance St
Oasis Car Mart – Archbold Main Stop, 1200 Stryker St

Lassus Handy Dandy, 419 Main St
Garage Bar & Grill, LLC, 6421 US 20A

C & J Carryout, 17980 US 20

T Mart, 109 E Main Street

Speedway, 14155 Airport Highway
Toledo 76, 102 E Airport Highway
Assumption Carryout, 2558 US 20
AI Carry Out, 10717 County Rd 4
Swanton Drug, 151 E Airport Highway

Circle K, 248 N Fulton Street
Wal-Mart, 485 E Airport Highway
Circle K, 1497 N Shoop Ave
Dollar General, 826 N Shoop Ave
Smith’s Restaurant, 8198 SR 108
VFW Post 7424, 1133 N Ottokee St
Sullivan’s Restaurant, 141 N Fulton St

Four businesses were not compliant and were issued citations on-site for sale and/or furnishing alcohol to a person under 21. As part of the citation, the employees making the sale were also charged with sale and/or furnishing alcohol to a person under 21.
Those cited were:

Lassus Handy Dandy, 104 W Airport Highway (Failed on 2 separate checks)
White Pines Golf Course, 1640 County Rd 2

Courtview Mart, 151 S Fulton Street

West Unity
Anchor Bay Carryout and Patio, 12328-12330 County Rd 27

Raymond Rodriguez, OIU, Agent in Charge, adds, “I don’t believe any business owner wants to see their employees provide alcohol to minors. The ASK program gives retailers the skills they need to obey the laws and keep our kids safer.”
Keith Torbet, Wauseon Police Chief and Chairman of the HC3 Law Task Force, “would like to thank those businesses that were compliant during this round of checks and for their commitment to the well-being of our young people.”
According to the 2010 Fulton County Youth Health Assessment and as compared to those that do not drink, teens who drink are four times more likely to have driven with a drinking driver; two times more likely to consider attempting suicide in the past twelve months; twelve times more likely to have smoked marijuana in the past 12 months; and three and one-half times more likely to engage in any type of sexual behavior. Underage drinking is statistically associated with other risky behavior among teens in our county. A coalition member of HC3, Sharon Morr adds, “We all need to work together to help teens make healthy choices.”
Healthy Choices Caring Communities, an initiative of the Fulton County Family & Children First Council, is a group of community members working together to prevent and reduce youth use of alcohol and other drugs in Fulton County. To become a member of the HC3, or for more information, contact Lou Moody, Project Director, at 419-337-0915.

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