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Stop underage drinking

Dear Editor:On Memorial Day weekend Eagle County Sheriff’s Office and Basalt Police Department jointly participated in an exercise to identify businesses which were illegally selling alcohol to underage drinkers. I wholeheartedly support this effort. Eagle County has the highest per capita crash rate among youth drivers ages 15 to 21 in the entire state of Colorado. Twenty-one percent of these crashes are alcohol related. Teen alcoholism, alcohol related rape and other alcohol related crimes, both violent and nonviolent, are on the rise for this age group in the state of Colorado. Underage drinkers are getting the alcohol from somewhere, and the weekend was a glimpse into finding out where.I know to some it may seem that what the police did was unfair or even a waste of time, but I have to wonder if those people would feel the same way if an 18 or 19 year old drove his car home from one of those bars, after being served alcohol, and he/she killed their wife, husband, child, brother, mother or friend. Wouldn’t those same people then be screaming, “I am going to sue the bar for serving an underage drinker?” or “Why didn’t the server check his ID? He wasn’t legal to drink.”The purpose of these exercises is not to close down places of business or to get well meaning bartenders or waitresses fired. It is to teach those people, business owners and employees alike, where their weaknesses are and to how to learn from them. I understand it can be difficult to card people at times when business is jumping and things are hectic, but underage drinkers are aware of that too, and that is when they will frequent those establishments that they know are lax on checking for proper identification. They will then be served alcohol illegally, the consequences of which could be disastrous for not only the drinker but for the business owner, bartender, waiter, and random other people who could be effected, alike.Embrace the lesson learned. Don’t fire the waitresses and bartenders who failed to check for identification that night, train them! Fine the business owners for their inadequate processes that night, but only so they can realize the seriousness of the situation and protect themselves from the liability they are exposing themselves to by not carding everyone under the age of 30 and serving underage drinkers.No parent can keep track of their 18 to 20 year old child, but when my kids reach that age, and they push the limits of the law and try to buy alcohol at a bar or restaurant just to see of they can; I know I’ll sleep easier at night knowing employees are aware of the seriousness of serving underage people, and that bar owners are training employees properly and making it a little more difficult for underage drinkers to drink at their establishments.Good job Eagle County Sheriff and Basalt Police Department. Thank you for making my children, myself and our roads a little bit safer on Memorial Day weekend.Apollo GarciaEagle County coordinatorMothers Against Drunk Driving


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