ALE: Enforcement with Education

Author: Erin Bean

While the “E” in “ALE” is short for “enforcement,” it could just as easily be replaced with “education.” Whether on the side of the road, behind a bar, or inside a classroom, special agents with Alcohol Law Enforcement provide extensive education to businesses, fellow law enforcement and the public every day. 

Enforcing state law and administrative regulations are a necessary part of every ALE special agent’s day-to-day work, but prioritizing education throughout those interactions creates lasting change. The four free training programs provided by ALE aim to keep ABC-permitted businesses, and those who frequent them, safe. The programs are:  Be A Responsible Seller/Server (B.A.R.S.), Stop Alcohol Violence through Employee Education (S.A.V.E.E.), “When Love is not Enough” Presentation, and the ABC Officers Academy. 

Be A Responsible Seller / Server Training

At more than 500 programs annually, the most widely taught program by ALE is the Be A Responsible Seller / Server training, or B.A.R.S. Program. The B.A.R.S. Program is an educational class offered to licensed ABC or NC Educational Lottery permit holders and their employees free of charge. Developed in the early 1980s, the B.A.R.S. Program was created to educate employees on the criminal laws and administrative regulations governing responsible business operations. The program also helps ALE special agents develop and grow working relationships with the businesses in their assigned areas, and prevent irresponsible sales, such as sales to underage or intoxicated patrons. Throughout the pandemic, ALE special agents implemented an online COVID-specific B.A.R.S. program, which was accessed through webinars, videos and printable materials. The online training provided timely guidance on each of the Governor’s Executive Orders, and any applicable rule changes by the ABC Commission for ABC-permitted businesses and their employees. 

In addition to responsible alcohol sales, ALE special agents also invest in tobacco education. ALE and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services have partnered to provide tobacco awareness and education to tobacco retailers. From conducting surveillance and inspections at retail tobacco locations, to providing retailers with on-site assistance in answering questions, ALE enforces state tobacco laws with the goal of reducing the sale of tobacco products to customers who are less than 18 years old. 

Stop Alcohol Violence through Employee Education

Since 2020, ALE has conducted 12 investigations which led to the summary suspension of a business’s ABC permits due to repeated acts of violence, or a substantial violent event resulting in deaths or serious bodily injury. Through the course of these investigations, ALE special agents found measures could have been taken by the business and its employees to have prevented the violent acts from occurring. With this knowledge, ALE developed the Stop Alcohol Violence through Employee Education, or S.A.V.E.E. program, in partnership with the North Carolina Private Protective Services Board. The class is designed to prepare ABC-licensed business owners and employees to recognize indicators of violence, address disturbances in a way that discourages escalation, and enact business practices consistent with state laws. Participants are educated on the dangers of having unlicensed armed or unarmed security, and how to reduce their liability by employing licensed security through the North Carolina Private Protective Services Board. 

When Love is Not Enough Presentation

The “When Love is Not Enough” training was created by ALE Assistant Special Agent in Charge Matt Knight due to an increase in substance abuse with teens and young adults in Eastern North Carolina. Developed in 2019, the program teaches parents, guardians, teachers, counselors, social workers and community members the signs and symptoms of substance use. With more than two decades in law enforcement, ASAC Knight draws from his experience to educate communities on the signs of addiction. Utilizing a mock-bedroom scene, participants in the training are tasked with finding tools that are commonly used during substance use and identifying signs of substance abuse hidden in the bedroom. The program also walks through steps to be taken if attendees believe their child or a child they know is using illegal substances. 

ABC Officer Training

In addition to training the public and businesses, ALE special agents invest in the education of fellow law enforcement partners as well. In 2020, ALE partnered with the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABCC) to develop a free, two-week training session for law enforcement officers who are primarily tasked with enforcing ABC laws. Held at the Samarcand Training Academy in Jackson Springs, the course covers state law and administrative regulations, trademark violations, inspections of ABC-permitted businesses, and various types of investigations, such as: illegal drugs, fraudulent IDs, gambling, illegal outlets, sales to intoxicated, and source investigations.  

To find out more on these programs, or schedule a training in your area, contact your local ALE district office here


Related Topics: