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Chapel Hill Police Department offers safety training program for bar, restaurant workers

Andrew Phillips, a senior EXSS major from Canton, Ohio, examines (my) ID at Goodfellows on Franklin St. The bar-back has worked at the bar for almost two years and says he can pretty quickly tell the difference between a real and a fake ID. 

Andrew Phillips, a senior EXSS major from Canton, Ohio, examines (my) ID at Goodfellows on Franklin St. The bar-back has worked at the bar for almost two years and says he can pretty quickly tell the difference between a real and a fake ID. 

Content warning: This article contains mentions of sexual assault.




The Chapel Hill Police Department and UNC Violence Prevention and Advocacy Services (VPAS) are offering two bar safety programs for restaurant staff on the second Monday of every month.

The program includes two back-to-back courses — Being a Responsible Server (BARS) and Raise the Bar. 

Together, both courses teach strategies for legally serving alcohol and preventing sexual violence at bars and restaurants.

BARS is facilitated by the CHPD and taught by Investigator Mondrez Pamplin. He said the course is meant to educate restaurant employees on the laws surrounding alcohol sales and the drinking age.

“The whole philosophy of our police department is: we try to educate the community,” Pamplin said. “By having this monthly training, it gives the employees an opportunity to come in, ask questions and get clarity on some of the laws when it comes to alcohol.”

He also said some of the laws covered in the training include age restrictions on alcohol sales and service and how to evaluate different forms of ID.

CHPD officers periodically conduct compliance checks on local restaurants with alcohol permits. These operations, per an email from Chapel Hill Community Safety Public Information Officer Alex Carrasquillo, involve investigating whether or not an establishment will sell alcohol to an underage customer.

Pamplin said restaurants that fail a compliance check will first be cited immediately prior to being educated on the laws surrounding alcohol sales.

According to the CHPD, on a July 23 check, five out of 19 tested establishments failed to comply with alcohol age laws. During the previous investigation on June 25, seven out of 19 establishments failed, including Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery.

Raise the Bar is facilitated by UNC VPAS. Sloan Thompson, the violence prevention coordinator for VPAS, said she has been the primary facilitator of Raise the Bar since December 2021.

Thompson explained that Raise the Bar teaches workers at restaurants and bars how to identify potentially violent situations, assess their severity and intervene when necessary. She said the course’s primary mission is to empower workers to recognize what they are able to do to prevent sexual assault.

“Bartenders on Franklin Street and in Chapel Hill and Carrboro are on the frontlines of preventing sexual violence and gender-based violence in Chapel Hill,” Thompson said. “If we can empower them, we can go a long way towards curbing sexual violence in our community.”

Training restaurant workers as a team can be more effective than training one staff member at a time, she added.

Steve Woodham, owner of Goodfellows Bar, said he encourages his staff to attend the training because he wants them to be educated on proper alcohol sales protocol and sexual violence prevention strategies.

He said that it's a “must” for him to make sure his staff is educated on how to handle these situations.

“As bar owners and managers and bartenders, people are coming into our businesses to spend money and have a good time,” Woodham said. “We're responsible for looking out for their well-being and making sure they have a safe and enjoyable time.”

Individuals who work at restaurants and bars in the community can sign up for the training on The next training will be held at the Chapel Hill Courthouse on Monday, Sept. 12 from 7 to 9 p.m.

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@DTHCityState |

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that restaurants are first educate when they fail to take a fake ID test instead of immediately cited. Restaurants are cited immediately then educated. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for this error. 

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