TULSA, Okla. – The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to prevent underage access to alcohol.
We accompanied two sheriff’s deputies and a volunteer as they stopped at businesses in Tulsa County, checking whether those establishments complied with Oklahoma law.
“We try to make sure that establishments that sell alcohol, whether it’s a restaurant, bar or liquor store, comply with state law. Oklahoma, the legal drinking age being 21,” says Sgt. Lamont Hill.
The Sheriff’s Office conducts alcohol compliance checks in Tulsa County after receiving a grant from the “2 Much 2 Lose” program. The grant money pays for extra shifts for MPs.
“A young woman searched our records and tried to buy alcohol,” said store clerk Katherine Randell. “Our cashier was under 18 so he couldn’t sell it so we called me and I was just checking her ID and she didn’t turn 21 until 2023 so obviously I couldn’t sell it to her. ‘alcohol.”
During these checks, a deputy in uniform and a deputy in civilian clothes – like Hill on this ride – take a volunteer under the age of 21 to an establishment and make him try to buy alcohol with his ID. .
“It’s up to the clerk or the waiter or the bartender to verify said ID,” Hill says.
If the establishment sells to the underage volunteer, the server or store clerk will receive a citation, as well as the establishment. If they don’t sell, they will get a certificate from the sheriff’s officer, showing that they are in compliance with Oklahoma law, and that they passed the test.
“I made it, I’ve been in the business for a very long time, so some of them are easy to get, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry – check those IDs,” says Jacob Roelofsen, clerk of the liquor store.
“Even if they look over 21, we need to scan your ID regardless of their age. If you’re a regular, it doesn’t matter – an ID identity every time, and we scan it every time,” says Kum & Go employee Corrine Buchanan.
As we were riding most businesses did not sell alcohol to the underage volunteer, but one business received a warning. Hill says this program is not intended to target local businesses. It is about educating and protecting young people.
“We’re trying to break the cycle and prevent them from getting addicted to alcohol at a young age or at any age,” Hill said.
The campaign runs until June. The sheriff’s office hopes to secure more funding and continue the program after June.
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