A spokesperson for the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) says a one year review of their new on-line training course has shown good results in cutting the number of violations for alcohol sales to minors. Shannon Pogones oversees what’s called the “Iowa Program for Alcohol Compliance Training” or I-PACT.
She compared the numbers before and after I-PACT was implemented. “We’ve had 110 fewer sale to minor citations that were issued for the same time period,” Pogones explains. That’s a drop of 30-percent in citations, which is an improvement over the first six months of the program where they saw a 16-percent drop in citations.
Pogones says 12,-500 users have logged on for the training, which takes around two hours to complete. She says the idea is to give the companies that sell alcohol the knowledge to train their employees to prevent sales to minors.
“Under a new administration with administrator Stephen Larson, we’ve taken more of a proactive approach — getting out and educating our licensees and citizens alike in the State of Iowa to go away from having a ‘gotcha’ attitude to be more proactive than reactive,” according to Pogones.
The program gives businesses a freebie of sorts if an employee that has undergone the training still sells to a minor. The company can use what’s called an affirmative defense once in a four-year period to avoid a fine in such cases. “So far we’ve only had 12 establishments take advantage of the affirmative defense,” Pogones says.
She says that’s a pretty low number when there are 12,500 people who have been trained in the program. Pogones is working with the vendor to add around 15 to 20 minutes of updated content for the I-PACT training.
“There’s definitely some new things that needed to be upgraded, such as the temporary paper ideas…go into more detail on some of the great fake I-D’s that are coming in that are very hard to spot with the naked eye,” Pogones says.
Violations for illegal sales 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.
You can find out more about the training at: www.I-PACT.com.