PREBLE COUNTY— Last week, three local police agencies assisted the Ohio Investigative Unit in an undercover operation targeting local establishments and the sale of alcohol within those establishments to people under the age of 21.
The Ohio Investigative Unit along with the Eaton, Lewisburg and West Alexandria Police Departments conducted a county wide compliance check after complaints of a local establishment selling alcohol to people under 21 were received.
Those compliance checks led to two local businesses being charged with selling alcohol to an underaged person.
The two businesses and the clerks working in the establishments failed to ask for proper identification during the compliance check and sold alcohol to the person under 21 years old. Those two businesses were the Marathon gas station in West Alexandria and Sammy’s Food Mart in Eaton.
In total, at least 12 establishments were targeted during the compliance check, which revealed the majority of businesses who sell alcohol in Preble County are indeed acting within compliance of the Ohio State Liquor laws which require identification on anyone under the age of 35.
According to Eaton Police Chief Chad DePew, local agencies conduct compliance checks at random to make sure the places who sell alcohol are acting within the laws set by the state and federal government.
According to DePew, several calls were made to police making complaints about one of the local stores not asking for identification when selling alcohol or selling to people under the age of 21.
DePew said since an investigation had already been deemed necessary from calls made to police, the departments decided to go ahead a run a compliance check in the process.
DePew also pointed out the best results in any compliance check would be having no citations at all — because this would mean every business was doing its job.
However, he noted, this compliance check did everything it was intended to do. It revealed the establishments which complaints had been filed on were indeed breaking the law, and the compliance check allowed local police to cite those establishments for the sale of alcohol to someone under 21.
DePew also thinks the timing of the compliance check is important, as many people under the age of 21 return to school soon and an increase in underage drinking can occur during the back-to-school time.