Teaneck Police Participate in “Cops in Shops Program”

22 12 2008

 

21Teaneck, N.J.-  The Teaneck Police Department was recently chosen to participate in the “COPS IN SHOPS 2008/2009 College/Fall Initiative” under a Grant provided by the Division of Highway Traffic Safety and Alcoholic Beverage Control. Since its inception in 1996, the Teaneck Police Department has regularly participated in this program due to our continued success in curbing and preventing the illegal sale of alcohol to minors. Cops in Shops is a proactive approach which places undercover officers in retail liquor establishments to foil the sale of alcohol to minors as well as to those of legal age who attempt to purchase it for them.

If caught, offenders find themselves talking to a police officer, not a store clerk, about losing their driver’s license, going to court and paying fines. And the penalties are harsh—an arrest can lead to a minimum $500.00 fine and a mandatory six month loss of driving privileges. Since 1996, the Cops in Shops program has accounted for more than 7,100 arrests

Underage drinking is a significant safety problem that affects the citizens of our State. Through the Cops in Shops program, local retailers and law enforcement work together to send a strong message that such behavior will not be tolerated anywhere, whether in our parks, local neighborhoods, or in our college communities.

In New Jersey, 29,270 individuals were arrested in 2006 for drunk driving, and 2,971 of those people charged with DWI were under the age of 21, Young drivers face many risks every time they get behind the wheel. Inexperience, driver distraction and speed are just a few of the factors that contribute to making traffic crashes the number one cause of death for motorists 15 to 34 years of age. Adding alcohol to that already potentially deadly equation can only result in tragedies for teen drivers and all who share the road with them.

The true benefit of Cops in Shops goes beyond the number of arrests a police officer makes. It deters young people from attempting to purchase alcohol and helps cut down on illegal age consumption in New Jersey. By working closely with the licensed beverage industry, we can maximize our resources for combating underage drinking. Retailers who might otherwise be exposed to liability for underage sales are assisting law enforcement and, law enforcement is much better able to apprehend underage purchasers and send its message of deterrence. This initiative focuses on the individual who knows he or she is breaking the law, rather than on the licensee who may, in good faith, believe the person is of legal age.

Parents are urged to take the time to talk with their children about the consequences of underage drinking and the penalties for attempting to illegally purchase alcohol. Our goal is to educate our young people rather than having to take enforcement action against them and it is imperative that parents join us in this effort.

(News Source: Helene V. Fall-Municipal Manager)

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