The state Alcoholic Beverages Division is giving bartenders, waiters and waitresses in the Iowa City area some educational tips it hopes keep them on the job collecting monetary tips. Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division administrator Lynn Walding says some 500 people will take part in the pilot project. Walding says the Training for Intervention Procedures or “TIPS” program has one goal.He says it’s designed to teach bartenders how to properly train patrons. Walding says there’s more to it than just trying to determine if someone is under 21, and that’s what the program teaches. He says it teaches them how to spot fake I.D., how to recognize intoxicated patrons, and how to refuse to sell alcohol to an intoxicated patron. Walding says the program is voluntary for businesses, but the state is offering a big incentive. He says anyone who sends employees to the training is eligible for a “get out free” pass that would allow a business to get out of charges if an employee still sells to minors. The employee would still face charges. Walding says the Johnson County and Iowa City area was chosen for the pilot because of problems there with alcohol violations. He says the program could be expanded. He says if the program is successful, it could be offered to all areas of the state. Walding says it’s an “affirmative defense” program. The pilot project will last for two years. He says Brandeis University has a grant to study and evaluate the program and how it impacts servers. Funding for the pilot program was granted by Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, allowing the Division to offer TIPS free of charge to all on-premise liquor licensees in Johnson county.
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