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Chapel Hill bars crack down on enforcing alcohol laws together

The North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement, a branch of the State Bureau of Investigation, will hold a Be A Responsible Seller, or BARS, training event for local Alcoholic Beverage Control-licensed businesses later this month. The event will be hosted by the Chapel Hill Police Department.

And earlier this year, the town began working with the University to discuss the ways in which students’ high-risk drinking poses problems for downtown businesses.

The program is free for ABC-licensed businesses. Law enforcement officers will educate bar staff on alcohol regulations. The Chapel Hill class typically focuses on dealing with fake identifications, selling to already intoxicated customers, general laws and regulations and the sale of alcohol to underage bargoers.

This month’s class will focus on detecting fraudulent identification cards, said Jeff Lasater, Orange County’s special agent from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

“In Chapel Hill, the ALE agent would speak about the different types of fictitious identification because it is a college town and historically been a location where ALE agents have seized a substantial number of fake IDs,” he said.

Jacob Klein, a barback at Goodfellows who will attend this month’s session, said underage drinking is a persistent problem in the Chapel Hill area.

He said the course is a push to improve bars’ compliance with the law.

“It shows we are taking this seriously,” Klein said. “That’s all the town wants to do, cut back on underage drinking.”

Patty McQuillan, spokeswoman for the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, said this month’s BARS course is free for employees and are routine across the state.

ALE does not conduct regular BARS training in Chapel Hill, but McQuillan said it holds about 500 BARS programs a year across the state.

Lasater said it is important to teach employees how to properly enforce ABC laws.

“Alcohol Law Enforcement feels it is imperative to provide training to employees who are at the front line of enforcing ABC laws,” Lasater said.

Klein said this program will help Chapel Hill bars work together to follow all laws related to selling alcohol.

“Our bar is attending as a group just to kinda meet and greet with the other bars and get on the same page for the upcoming year,” he said. “This town has a big issue with underage drinking. This course brings us all together.”

Lauren Shoaf, the sales and marketing manager at Fitzgerald’s Irish Pub, said the training is important to keep staff knowledgeable about following proper laws and regulations.

Shoaf said Fitzgerald’s requires all staff to attend the BARS course and will prompt new staff members to attend this meeting.

“It is always helpful to have our staff members be as informed as possible,” she said.

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