New and Noteworthy in our community
One of the goals of a Drug Free Community (DFC) coalition is to impact underage drinking with environmental strategies—that is, to change the community in ways that make alcohol less accessible, less available, less desirable to underage drinkers. Police, businesses, and community worked together this past year to do just that, by completing four rounds of alcohol compliance checks among local bars and restaurants, and by providing responsible beverage service training to local wait staff and their employers.
Alcohol compliance checks are part of the process the police department uses to reduce the illegal sale of alcohol to those under 21, and involve sending a team of officers, both uniformed and non-uniformed, into licensed liquor establishments in Mount Kisco to conduct integrity checks on the sale of alcohol to underage youth. Last November and December, 100 percent of establishments passed, meaning that they did not serve or sell alcohol to minors. Two subsequent checks in May brought similar results: There were no violations among the thirteen establishments put to the test.
The improvement since May 2013, when three establishments failed, is significant. According to policeman Lt. Patrick O’Reilly, “This is in part a credit to continued efforts of both enforcement and education of the employees.” Mel Berger, Director of Mount Kisco Partners in Prevention, explained that the responsible beverage service training conducted by the coalition has helped educate owners and servers alike. Two such trainings have been made available to local retailers in the past year.
Michael Gedigk, an active volunteer in the coalition and chair of its outreach committee, is certified in Training for Intervention ProcedureS (TIPS). He offered the most recent training session on June 23, and sees participation by retailers as a win-win. “Staff development and legal compliance with beverage service laws are good things for the owner; enhanced safety accrues to the community,” Gedigk points out.
Underage drinking is a significant public health issue, with consequences that include car crashes, fights and accidental injuries. Limiting youth access to alcohol is an effective means of preventing these consequences. Therefore local businesses must continue their commitment to following the law and not serving/selling alcohol to underage people. Nan Miller, Coordinator of Mount Kisco Partners in Prevention, adds, “The compliance checks are part of a concerted community effort to help keep our youth drug-free. In addition to these checks, Mount Kisco Partners in Prevention is working to educate parents about the importance of not serving alcohol to teens at home and at parties.” The coalition, and the compliance checks, are funded through a DFC grant to the Mount Kisco Drug & Alcohol Abuse Prevention Council.
Partners in Prevention commends those establishments that did not sell alcohol to underage patrons during the compliance checks:
Westchester Burger Company
Tacos La Cabana
Café of Love Inc.
The Rose Room