UNION COUNTY—Police departments, the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), and the Union County Coalition for the Prevention of Substance Abuse (UCCPSA) have come together to spearhead a campaign to reduce underage drinking in Union County.
This effort has been led by Detective Andrew Huber of the Mountainside Police Department. Working with the Mountainside Police Department, Berkeley Heights Police Department, and Springfield Police Department, the campaign visited various liquor stores and bars throughout the entire county.
Along with Lieutenant Nancy Foz of ABC, Det. Huber gathered intelligence from around the county and created a plan to focus on certain liquor stores long suspected of selling alcohol to underage youth. The operation focused on confirming the age of the person purchasing the alcohol, preventing youth from purchasing alcohol, and ensuring the establishment conformed to the regulations of their license.
A total of 14 establishments throughout the county were investigated during the operation.
These establishments included liquor stores and bars suspected of selling alcohol to underage youth. During the operation, teams comprised of police officers, ABC investigators, and a UCCPSA representative dispersed throughout the county to investigate the suspected locations. All suspected youth were asked to present proper identification stating they were twenty-one years of age, the legal age to drink in New Jersey.
Without surprise, the operation was a tremendous success. A total of seven arrests were made, with five occurring in Union on July 9, and two more occurring in Plainfield on Aug. 6. Violating alcohol outlets were subsequently fined for selling to minors. The action taken by the partnering agencies prevented a countless number of additional minors from purchasing alcoholic beverages from these stores. Along with the enforcement efforts put forth, Michael Litterer of the UCCPSA participated to represent the prevention efforts in the county and collected valuable data.
Through the Union County Coalition’s federal funding, a major component of the operation was the completion of the “Union Country Underage Alcohol Purchase Survey and Outlet Compliance Checks”. This will provide valuable information and guidance for future efforts.
Similar operations are scheduled to occur periodically throughout Union County in the coming months.
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