Some alcohol establishments in Durant struggle with new alcohol laws

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DURANT – On April 16-17, Durant Police Department hosted a law enforcement training on alcohol enforcement in partnership with Wichita Mountains Prevention Network (WMPN) and the Oklahoma ABLE Commission. The training covered prevention strategies, enforcing the new alcohol laws, alcohol compliance checks, and party dispersal tactics, as well as enforcing the Social Host Law.

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As part of the training, alcohol compliance checks (ACCs) were performed on April 16 at 15 businesses in Durant who sell alcoholic beverages. A compliance check is a tool to identify alcohol establishments that sell alcohol to underage youth. Youth volunteers (under the age of 21) assisted law enforcement as underage buyers who entered the businesses and attempted to purchase alcoholic beverages. Of the 15 establishments checked, 11 were in compliance (73 percent compliant) for not selling to minors.

The four businesses that sold to the undercover youth in Durant were Loves, The Wine Cellar, The C-Store, and Tokyo Hibachi Restaurant. Of the four individuals that sold, three had not obtained their required ABLE Employee License or the mandatory alcohol service training that accompanies that license. If servers or clerks sell to a minor without an ABLE Employee License, it is a misdemeanor on the first offense. The second offense is a felony. Durant Police Department and the ABLE Commission wrote citations to all individuals that sold alcohol without a license.

All individuals who sell or serve alcohol must provide a copy of their ABLE Employee License and proof of training to their employers. They must also be able to present both these to law enforcement or the ABLE Commission at any time.

During ACCs, the ABLE Commission discovered that Tokyo did not have a liquor license for their establishment. Without a liquor license, establishments are unable to purchase alcohol from a wholesaler (as now required by Title 37.A), or sell alcohol period. All of Tokyo’s alcohol was seized by ABLE on the 16th and the owner is being arrested for selling alcohol illegally and evading taxes.

“We are more than six months into the new alcohol law changes and the grace period for complying with the new employee licensing requirements is ending. Anyone who sells or serves alcohol needs to know that they have to have an ABLE Employee License and alcohol service training to sell or serve it,” said Jayci Enerson, RPC Director at WMPN.

WMPN is a nonprofit organization that works to prevent Alcohol and prescription drug abuse covering an 8 county region. WMPN provides a free Responsible Beverage Sales and Services Training (RBSST) to any establishment that serves beer or alcohol. This training is one of the ABLE approved alcohol service trainings that will accomplish the training required by having an ABLE Employee License. If you are interested in learning more about the RBSST or want to attend a training, please contact Chelsey Stevenson at (580) 490-9197 ext. 104.

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