A budget cut to the N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement agency could mean fewer officers on staff — but not necessarily fewer alcohol citations.
A $1.75 million cut to the ALE’s budget could force the agency to eliminate as many as 30 positions from its statewide staff of 110 agents this year.
ALE — the state’s primary enforcer of Alcoholic Beverage Control laws — is one of several law enforcement agencies with the authority to issue citations for alcohol violations. Officers from the agency frequent areas with a high number of bars, such as Franklin Street.
Patty McQuillan, a law enforcement communications officer with the N.C. Department of Public Safety, said the ALE received $8.6 million from the state’s general fund last year. This year, its budget is less than $7 million.
She said the agency is still assessing how it will handle the 20-percent cut but shedding positions is possible.
John Gualtieri, operations manager at La Residence restaurant, said he feels a smaller number of ALE officers could mean an increase in violations given.
“Instead of visiting 20 times a year, now they’re coming five times a year, and they’re more inclined to (write tickets and warnings),” Gualtieri said.
Jeff Lasater, the ALE agent in charge of the Raleigh district, said officers try to make visits to college campuses at the start of each school year.
One UNC student who said she was at He’s Not Here bar on Aug. 24 said she was approached by an ALE officer who removed her from the bar.