The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) says it has seen success with a program it implemented this past winter to train people on-line about the state’s alcohol laws to prevent sales to people who are under the legal drinking age. Shannon Pogones oversees what’s called the “Iowa Program for Alcohol Compliance Training” or (I-PACT)
“We did a comparison from the fist six months to the previous six months,” Pogones explains. “In the previous six months before I-PACT was implemented we had approximately 235 sale-to-minor citations that were issued across the state. Compared to the first six months of when I-PACT was implemented, we had 39 fewer instances, so an overall decrease of about 16-percent.”
Pogones says they hope the trend of lower citations continues. “We wanted to do a comparison within the first six months to kind of just people excited about the program and get as many folks on board as possible. And so, I think we’ll reevaluate in one year and see how we are doing across the entire state in one year’s time,” Pogones says.
Some 9,000 users logged on to take the training, which she says can be done in about two hours. She says it starts out with education on valid types of driver’s licenses, military ID’s and other things to look for and then it has some simulated scenarios to test the participants.
Pogones says the training is designed to help bars, restaurants, and stores do the right thing, and hopefully those who take the training have more confidence in knowing what to look for.”What we like too is seeing employers who have all of their staff take it, and not just singling out, ‘your the bartender versus your just the busser’, having everybody take it,” Pogones says.
“So everybody is getting all that information, and there’s less room for error, let’s say.” Violations for the illegal sale of alcohol to minors include a $500 criminal fine to the clerk, as well as a $500 civil fine to the retail establishment for the first violation.
Subsequent violations can result in higher fines, license suspension or even license revocation. The training is available at: www.I-PACT.com.