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Monday December 5th

Alcohol Law Enforcement went out this weekend, but got much less hungover than we did

<p>Photo illustration. Local bartenders and bouncers are cracking down on fake IDs as ALE presence is rising.&nbsp;</p>
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Photo illustration. Local bartenders and bouncers are cracking down on fake IDs as ALE presence is rising. 

Chapel Hill Police wrote one open-container citation Saturday night during the first of eight planned patrols by the Alcohol Law Enforcement Response Teams.

The Chapel Hill Police Department announced the move Thursday on Facebook, calling it “street-level underage compliance checks.”

During the first of eight planned ALERT and compliance checks, the Chapel Hill police wrote one open-container citation. These new patrols are meant to encourage safe and legal drinking for students and those in the community.

“It’s really just to make sure that businesses, residents and visitors in the community are following the proper laws,” said Ran Northam, community safety spokesperson for the Town of Chapel Hill.

Mandey Brown, owner of Zog’s Art Bar, said the bar collaborates with the alcohol enforcement teams and is vigilant about underage drinking. To ensure that students with fake IDs can’t continue using them, Brown said Zog's confiscates all of them.

“I’m not trying to be a jerk, but I have a responsibility to my family and my employees,” she said.

Steve Woodham, owner of Goodfellows, said he agrees bars shouldn't be concerned if they're enforcing underage drinking laws.

“It kind of reinforces what we try to do already,” Woodham said. “It’s not just the bars trying to keep underage people from coming in. These guys are actually here to help.”

Northam said there are a number of ALERT patrols throughout the year, and there was no specific event or issue which triggered it. There are two ALERT and compliance checks scheduled each month through April, according to the police department’s website.

Woodham said the police were in Goodfellows for over an hour.

While this operation is not a nightly occurrence, Northam emphasized that the Chapel Hill police are constantly encouraging students and community members to drink safely and legally.

“While ALERT operations draw extra attention to this effort, that doesn’t mean our officers aren’t upholding the legal drinking age on a regular basis," he said.

Brown said the alcohol enforcement teams can be intimidating, but there’s nothing to fear for owners or students at bars.

“I used to be terrified,” she said. “But, then I realized that you don’t have to be scared if you’re not doing anything wrong.”


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