NJ Launches Summer Crackdown On Underage Drinking

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BELMAR – With the business of summer getting back to usual at the Jersey Shore, the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control today joined with other state, county and local officials to announce the summer kickoff of its successful “Cops in Shops” enforcement initiative.

Under the program, local police officers work undercover in participating retail locations. Law enforcement officials either pose as store employees or are positioned outside the establishment to apprehend adults who attempt to purchase alcohol for underage drinkers. Cops in Shops is a program designed by the Century Council, a national not-for-profit organization funded by distillers. The New Jersey Cops in Shops program is recognized nationally as a successful program.

“Hurricane Sandy did some damage, but we are proud to be back here at the Shore,” said Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Director Michael Halfacre. “Given the incredible progress this area has made in the last eight months, people are again flocking to their favorite spots along the Jersey Shore. They’re back, which means we’re back.”

“Attitudes among some adults and young people about the dangers of underage drinking can range from indifferent to dismissive, making our job that much more challenging. But that’s a challenge we embrace at the ABC because we are committed to preserving the physical and emotional health of the young people in New Jersey,” he said.

This summer, 28 shore police departments are participating in the program, with approximately $61,000 in funding provided by the Division of Highway Traffic Safety.

“We are all looking forward to enjoying the Jersey Shore this summer, but we’re focused today on a serious mission: keeping our teens and young people safe. We have an obligation to prevent underage drinking in New Jersey, and one of the most effective ways to do that is with the Cops In Shops initiative,” said Lee Vartan, Chief of Staff for the Attorney General’s Office.

Twenty-eight Jersey Shore towns will receive grants from the ABC to run the program this year. In 2012, participating law enforcement agencies arrested 202 individuals during the crackdown. Since the ABC adopted the popular program from the Century Council in 1996, law enforcement has made more than 10,000 arrests due to the initiative.

“This summer on the shore, anyone under 21 should know that if you’re too young to buy, don’t even try. Cops will be in every place necessary to make sure everyone who buys is of legal age,” said Ralph Blackman, President and CEO of The Century Council.

The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control also administers the Cops in Shops College-Fall and Year-Round Initiatives. The College-Fall Initiative grant is available to police departments in New Jersey with a college or university either within its borders or in a neighboring community, and is aimed at keeping anyone under the age of 21 from drinking alcohol. This program, funded by the Division of Highway Traffic Safety, runs from November through June.

The ABC also administers the Year-Round Initiative, which was recently completed by 22 law enforcement agencies with funding from the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. A list of all grantees can be found below.

Summer Initiative: Absecon, Avalon, Barnegat Township, Beach Haven, Belmar, Egg Harbor Township, Harvey Cedars, Jackson Township, Lake Como, Lakehurst, Lakewood, Lavallette Boro, Long Beach Township, Lower Township, Manchester Township, Neptune Township, Neptune City, North Wildwood, Ocean Gate, Ocean Township, Point Pleasant Beach, Point Pleasant Boro, Sea Isle City, Seaside Heights, Ship Bottom, Spring Lake Heights, Toms River Township and Wildwood.

College-Fall Initiative: Absecon, Allenhurst, Cherry Hill, Deptford Township, Eatontown, Egg Harbor Township, Galloway Township, Glassboro, Jackson Township, Livingston, Madison, Mahwah Township, Marlboro Township, Montclair, Morris Township, North Brunswick, Ocean Township, Phillipsburg, Piscataway Township, South Brunswick Township, South Orange Village, Summit, Teaneck and Woodbridge.

Year-Round Initiative: Atlantic City, Brigantine, Buena Boro, Fair Lawn, Burlington Township, Evesham, Medford, Newark, West Orange, Jersey City, West New York, Ewing Township, East Brunswick, Metuchen, Middletown Township, Red Bank, Brick Township, Hillsborough, Raritan, Westfield and the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office.


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