The Valley City Police Department held a training class for those who own or are employed at alcohol establishments Friday. The same class will be offered about every month at the VCPD.
Officer Wade Hannig, who head the class Friday, said the free classes are “an effort to help the bars notice potential problems, avoid them before they become problems — just kind of a community service.”
During the class, bartenders, servers and owners of liquor establishments learned North Dakota’s alcohol laws, how to avoid serving minors and overly-intoxicated individuals and what their responsibility and liability is for serving and selling alcohol.
Hannig started the class with a PowerPoint presentation stating some statistics pertaining to alcohol in North Dakota.
Hannig said, “Underage drinking cost the state $14.1 million in 2007, and that number comes from accidents, people that were either injured in an accident, hospitalized or required medical attention.”
After hearing those stats, servers then learned some of the laws, including that a person must be 21 to serve alcohol, and a person under the age of 21 may not enter any licensed premise where alcohol beverages are being sold or displayed, except at restaurants, for training, education, research or compliance checks.
“It is a class B misdemeanor if you allow it,” Hannig told the audience.
Once the audience was informed of their responsibility as alcohol servers and sellers, they learned how to identify minors. Hannig told the audience how to determine whether an ID is authentic or fake and how to properly check an ID. He said if the server has any doubt the VCPD is willing to come in and check.
“If you’ve got someone that comes in with an ID that you don’t believe is theirs — the picture doesn’t match or you think the age is too big a discrepancy, call us (the VCPD), we’ll come and check,” Hannig said.
The officer also suggested that all liquor establishments keep a copy of a book that shows every drivers license from all 50 states in the U.S.
The presentation then showed audience how to deal with overly-intoxicated patrons and avoid over-serving alcohol. A small video during the class advised servers to offer food or water to obviously intoxicated patrons and to ask them to leave the establishment if necessary.
Hannig also said police officers are willing to come in and deal with difficult patrons.
Another topic brought up was “power hour” — a term used to describe the one hour between midnight and 1 a.m. on a person’s 21st birthday.
Because there have been some instances where people had drank themselves to death in that one hour, North Dakota Century Code now states that person is not legally considered 21 years of age until 8 a.m. on that person’s birthday.
Hannig said the VCPD will try to hold one class a month, and “try and get as many people through the class as possible over the course of the summer.”