21 of 44 De Pere establishments sold alcohol to underage persons!

I’m very disappointed at a recent report from police chief Derk Beiderwieden regarding underage sales of alcohol. Our police department recently setup a sting where they had an underage person attempt to purchase liquor at 44 establishments. 21 of them made the sale. Yes, 21! That’s a problem.

The main thing that bothers me is that this issue seems to be the police versus the establishments, but our bars, restaurants and stores should want to fix this problem too.

I’m not on the city’s License Committee, and I don’t know the solution, but I’ll be paying close attention to this issue to see what we can do to fix this.

If you’d like to see the list of De Pere establishments who sold alcohol to our youth, check out the last couple of pages of this document:

De Pere License Committee packet for October 2, 2012

UPDATE: 2012-10-03 Wed 7:06am

I attended the De Pere License Committee meeting last night, as this issue was discussed with the police chief. The committee members, Ald. Kevin Bauer, Ald. James Boyd, and Ald. Jim Kneiszel all agreed that this is a serious problem that needs to be fixed. While no specific solutions were put forth, Chief Beiderwieden is working to get another grant to pay for the overtime so that we can keep checking these establishments. Of course I hope we get that grant, but if not, we need to figure out how to pay for the overtime necessary to work on this. In the above mentioned sting, the servers who sold the alcohol received a citation along with the business owner.

I fully support hitting the problem establishments hard, to the point of revoking their liquor license if they just won’t comply. It was also mentioned that many of the underage sales happened at gas stations. To that comment, I suggested that if we can’t figure out any other way to fix this, then we need to consider banning beer sales at gas stations. While this certainly is not my preferred solution, we need to have all options on the table until this is solved. My subsequent count of the offending establishments found that only 6 of the 21 were gas stations, so maybe the gas station comment was unwarranted. Nonetheless, we need to keep working on this.

Chief Beiderwieden told us that the department also recently performed a check in the city for people on the street with open intoxicants. They issued citations to 61 people! He said that most of these were either St. Norbert College students, or were in town to attend college parties.

The health and well-being of our youth is at stake here. We cannot sit by and allow our bars, restaurants, and convenience stores to ignore the law.