Beer sting shows strong compliance with state laws by David Lias A recent beer sting conducted in the Vermillion area demonstrates, according to Clay County State�s Attorney Tami Bern, that local establishments that sell alcohol are doing an excellent job in training their employees to comply with state law.
The sting was conducted Sept. 6 and 7 in Clay County with permission from the South Dakota Department of Health and Bern�s office.
Dr. Thomas Radecki, representing the Illinois-based Doctors and Lawyers for a Drug Free Youth, organized the sting in which an unidentified 19-year-old individual visited 25 county establishments and asked to purchase beer.
No one in Clay County was caught in the sting. The informant was turned away at every place that he visited.
�That is particularly good for the time of the year that this sting took place,� Bern said. �Early September is right after all of the university students have returned to Vermillion.�
Vermillion Police Chief Bruce Plate commended local businesses after the sting was completed.
�The results show that these businesses are serious about enforcing the law,� he said. �The merchants are doing a good job to prevent underage violations. I am concerned, however, about other (private) individuals out there who don�t think twice about serving alcohol to minors.�
Radecki�s group, which usually concentrates on tobacco stings, was hired by the state to conduct alcohol compliance checks throughout South Dakota.
On Sept. 6, the 19-year-old attempted to purchase beer in Vermillion at Casey�s General Store, Shop E Z, Freedom Value Center, Coyote Amoco, Jones� Food Center, Hy-Vee, Pump N Stuff, Coastal, Pump �N Pak, Varsity Pub, Chalky�s, Main Street Pub, Little Italy�s, Pizza Hut, Godfather�s, Silver Dollar Restaurant, Pro Sports Bar, Bunyans, Leo�s Lounge, Carey�s Bar, Players, Charcoal Lounge and Recuerdo�s Italian/Mexican Restaurante.
Alcohol purchase attempts were also made at Toby�s Lounge in Meckling Sept. 7.
The purchase attempts were part of a scientific random selection enforcement and survey study conducted for the South Dakota Office of Highway Safety to test the ease with which 19-year-olds who do not appear to be over the age of 21 can purchase alcohol products.
Bern said the 19-year-old used in the Clay County alcohol sting was carefully age tested to assure that he appeared to be under the age of 22. This is done by having adults selected at random from the region guess the age of the youth.
If the majority of people questioned believe the youth is under the age of 22 and if the average guess is under the age of 22, the youth will be used.
According to this age-testing technique, Bern said, people estimated that the youth was 20 years old.
The 19-year-old attempted to make off-site carryout purchases at nine of the establishments that he visited in Clay County. On-site �consumption� purchases were attempted at the 16 other places visited during the beer sting.
The reports that Radecki filed with Bern�s office don�t specifically state what occurred at each establishment. The 19-year-old was carrying a driver�s license, however, and the reports indicate that identification was required at each of the Clay County places he visited.