SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A recent alcohol compliance check by Sioux Falls Police saw 20% of the businesses tested fail. That is an unusually high amount of businesses failing compliance, but how does this process work?
Officer Sam Clemens with the SFPD says that the department uses individuals age 18-20 in their operations. These people go into the business and attempt to purchase alcohol. “If they are asked for identification, they present their state issued ID. If the business sells, the clerk is issued a citation,” said Clemens.
These underage individuals are selected by undercover officers supervising the checks, Clemens says.
In terms of how the businesses are chosen for checks, Clemens says all entities that sell alcohol in the city are checked at least once per year. He says that having 7 fail in one run is unusual, but that there is no discernible reason for them to be higher now that at other times.
This is backed up by comments from Cpt. Josh Phillips with the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office. In May, the MCSO carried out a check of nearly 60 businesses in the county, only 4 of which failed.
Phillips said there was no clear reason that the recent SFPD check saw a higher failure rate than the May check done by the MCSO, noting that at other times in the past, the MCSO check has found more violations, just as the SFPD has on occasion.
While the SFPD monitors all establishments selling alcohol in Sioux Falls, the MCSO watches all others in the county.
As with the SFPD, Phillips says the MCSO also uses people between the ages of 18 and 20 to carry out their checks, telling KELOLAND News that these are generally people that someone within the organization knows, or have been recommended to them, perhaps from another county.
Phillips says these minors are not deceptive in their operations, providing their IDs, which are vertical instead of horizontal and state that they are under 21, if asked to. If an employee fails to check ID, or does check and still sells the alcohol, they are immediately cited by the MCSO, who are on site.
Businesses generally do a good job of training their employees to check ID says Phillips, noting that the Department of Revenue has resources available on this matter. He says the biggest thing that employees need to do to cut back on infractions is to take the time to actually read people’s IDs, rather than just “checking” them as a formality.