Federal money is flowing to the metro as a deterrent to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors. Teams with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the Nebraska State Patrol and the Omaha Police Department were out Friday night putting that money in motion.
They were checking to make sure businesses are in compliance with laws aimed at preventing sales to kids.
The law enforcement team worked with a criminal informant who been through the drill before.
NSP investigators Robert Elliot said, "We never want to trick or entice anybody into a sale. We just want to make sure that businesses are doing their jobs and confirming age before they make a sale."
Elliott heads the task force that put three teams out on the street Friday. He explained that instead of focusing on the punishment side of failing to properly check for IDs, it's an opportunity for additional training for clerks and servers.
“Even tonight, we will have businesses that check ID, look at the ID and make a sale anyway, even when the minor is presenting their own ID which is printed vertically, when and adult is printed horizontally."
Sgt Jason Menning, with the Omaha Police Department, said officers recently have responded to a number of MIP parties in the area. Once they are on scene they too focus on education about the spiral of poor decisions that are associated with underage drinking.
The question ultimately comes down to where the alcohol came from.
Menning said, "Did they buy it? Did they have older brother or sister? Was it supplied at the party? So we are looking for that source. Where did they ultimately get the alcohol?"
As we parted ways with our team Friday night we got word that not only did a clerk sell alcohol to the minor, she had an active warrant out for her arrest.
In the end the goal was to reach 150 business over two nights. Sgt. Elliott did point out that his goal is to make these compliance checks as fair as possible. Businesses that do pass will receive a letter of congratulations.