Craig In light of recent alcohol sales compliance checks, the Craig City Council is considering new ways to curb alcohol sales to underage purchasers.
During a Craig Police Department operation conducted May 3, 10 of 28 liquor license holders sold alcohol to a person under legal drinking age.
The results mirrored those of a January compliance check, which 10 businesses also failed. Four of those businesses - Fiesta Jalisco, Safeway Food and Drug, and east and west Kum & Go - sold alcohol to minors in both compliance checks.
A proposed liquor license ordinance, which includes establishing an administrative hearing officer and requiring alcohol sales training, is an option city councilors will discuss in a meeting today.
Currently, the City Council acts as the city's liquor licensing authority and assigns penalties for liquor license holders that sell alcohol to minors.
A hearing officer would take charge of the latter responsibility.
"City Council would still be the licensing authority," City Manager Jim Ferree said.
An attorney licensed to practice in Colorado would likely fill the hearing officer position, he said.
Adopting different penalties for businesses that sell liquor to minors also could go into effect if a hearing officer is appointed.
In that case, the hearing officer would determine penalty severity based on several factors, Ferree said, including whether the business has sold alcohol to minors before.
The second component of the proposed ordinance includes making alcohol sales training mandatory for businesses that fail compliance checks. These trainings must meet curriculum standards established by the Colorado Department of Revenue's liquor enforcement division, Ferree said.
In the past, Training for Intervention Procedures, or TIPS, has trained area liquor license holders how to spot underage purchasers.
A local branch of the Grand Futures Prevention Coalition formerly administered the training.
Chad Kiniston, Moffat County Grand Futures director, resigned in February. As a result, TIPS trainings set for earlier this year have been canceled.
Diane Miller, project coordinator for the Youth Wellness Initiative, a grassroots organization formed last year to eliminate underage drinking, said the trainings will be rescheduled.
The police department now is in charge of the TIPS trainings, Miller said.
Capt. Jerry DeLong declined to comment.
However, TIPS may not be the only training option.
"I think there may be other training programs that would meet the Department of Revenue's standards," Ferree said.
Recently, area alcohol retailers have expressed concerns that TIPS training doesn't cover the issues they face when identifying underage purchasers, he said.
"The TIPS training seems to have an emphasis on server training," Ferree said. "A lot of the server training has nothing to do with retail outlets."
Liquor license holders and Craig Police Department officials are scheduled to discuss other training options during a meeting today.
Miller said she hopes Wellness Initiative members will attend today's City Council meeting.
The group supports making TIPS training mandatory for businesses that fail compliance checks, she said.
"The reason we're supportive is because TIPS (has been) proven to be effective," she said. "Education is important."