Durham, New Hampshire, Alcohol Compliance Check Goal is Education Over Court
Two Durham businesses that sell alcohol failed an Alcohol Compliance Check Thursday, but there's a good chance the workers charged will never see the inside of a courtroom.
Durham Police and the New Hampshire Liquor Commission Law Enforcement Division tested the compliance of 18 businesses licensed to sell alcohol by sending a volunteer trained by the Liquor Commission into each location. The volunteer tried to purchase alcohol at each location and was unsuccessful at 16 locations.
The two businesses that failed were Hop & Grind on Madbury Road and Hannaford Supermarket on Mill Road, according to Durham Deputy Police Chief David Holmstock. The failure led to charges of prohibited sales of alcohol for Samantha Beck of Durham and Anthony Ciampo of Hudson, NH.
The intent of the compliance check is not to "get" anyone, but rather make sure both retailers and their workers are following the law and that there are consequences for violations, according to the Deputy Chief. Holmstock added that if police and the Liquor Commission didn't check on businesses, it would be irresponsible.
"It keeps it in their head that 'hey we need to make sure that our own people are paying attention.' We have a community of a large number young adults that are under the age of 21, and alcohol is a big issue," Holmstock said.
Beck and Ciampo are scheduled for arraignment November 7 in Dover District Court, but their cases will likely not ever make it that far, according to Holmstock.
"Our first goal is to educate if there is a violation," Holmstock said. "If they don't have a record, we'll offer them a course instead of court. There's an educational course that's offered through the New Hampshire State Liquor Commission, and if they complete that course, we won't go through the charges," Holmstock said.
But with so many people buying alcohol, Holmstock said there's a greater chance at a mistake. One of the two individuals charged had passed a previous compliance check.
"They may have just been tired and made a mistake. It's a person who was on duty in the past and had complied previously and pointed out 'hey you're underage.' This time it got by them, and they seemed genuinely concerned when they were told this person was underage," Holmstock said.
Holmstock said it will be up to the Liquor Commission to address the violation by the retailer of selling alcohol to a minor.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH