Belmar, NJ —Starting today, thanks to a partnership program called Cops in Shops®, New Jersey’s teens will find it tougher than ever to buy alcohol. Attorney General Paula T. Dow; Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Director Jerry Fischer; Division of Highway Traffic Safety Director Gary Poedubicky; and Monmouth County Prosecutor Peter B. Warshaw, Jr. joined Ron Engle of The Century Council, a not-for-profit organization funded by distillers, to launch the Cops in Shops® program at an event held today at Taylor Pavilion located at 512 Ocean Avenue in Belmar, New Jersey.
Store owners across New Jersey counties will work with the law enforcement agencies in their communities to place officers both inside and outside select stores. But young people won’t know when or where, so advice to teens is – don’t risk it. It’s the hope that the Cops in Shops® program will deter teens from buying alcohol illegally, and also make the adults who purchase it for minors think twice.
Cops in Shops® materials will be given to participating establishments across New Jersey to reinforce the message that this is a serious issue. It takes an entire community to fight underage purchasing.
Most recent statistics report there were 10,839 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities across the U.S., of which 149 were in New Jersey (NHTSA 2010). Furthermore, in New Jersey, 27,345 individuals were arrested for driving under the influence and 2,239 youths under the age of 18 were arrested for liquor law violations (UCR 2009). The presence of Cops in Shops® throughout the participating counties in New Jersey will help to decrease the occurrence of such arrests in 2011.
The Century Council created Cops in Shops® as a unique partnership between retailers and law enforcement, designed to deter youth under 21 from attempting to purchase alcohol and adults who purchase alcohol for minors. The program places undercover officers in participating retail locations. Often one undercover officer works inside the store while a second officer is positioned outside the establishment to apprehend adults who procure alcohol for youth. Cops in Shops® places the focus on the perpetrators — minors who try to purchase alcohol illegally. Participating retail establishments will display signs in their establishments with the message, “Under 21? Police Officers May Be Posing As Store Employees.” Cops in Shops® display materials are provided free-of-charge by The Century Council. In addition to the point-of-sale materials, The Century Council provides “how-to” manuals and organizational assistance. With the addition of New Jersey, 49 states have participated in, or are currently using, the Cops in Shops® program.
The Century Council
The Century Council, which has been at the front of the fight against drunk driving and underage drinking since its inception 20 years ago, is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking and is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Hood River Distillers, Inc.; Pernod Ricard USA; and Sidney Frank Importing Co., Inc. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia and chaired by The Hon. Susan Molinari, The Century Council is a leader in the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and promotes responsible decision making regarding beverage alcohol. The Century Council develops and implements innovative programs and public awareness campaigns and promotes action through strategic partnerships. Established in 1991, The Century Council’s initiatives are highlighted on its website at http://www.centurycouncil.org/.
Jessica Lepak, The Century Council