by Caitlin Huston
Businesses in Cass County passed the test of not selling alcohol to underage customers in 2012 with flying colors.
According to a survey conducted by the Indiana Excise Police, Cass County had zero violations of selling alcohol to minors in the study. Though businesses weren’t selling to minors, local police said underage drinking is still a continuing problem.
Out of 20 establishments that sell alcohol, zero were cited in 2012 for selling alcohol to underage youth working with the police. Cass County also had low numbers in 2011, with one of the 20 establishments cited for selling alcohol to someone underage.
Carroll, Clay, Pulaski and Tipton counties also had zero violations in 2012.
The numbers match an overall trend in Indiana, with an all-time low of 504 failures statewide, amounting to about a five-percent failure rate.
Scott County had the highest failure rate at 40 percent, followed by Crawford County at 37.5 percent.
The Excise Police have credited the low numbers to an Alcohol and Tobacco Commission initiative launched in April 2007, according to a press release.
In Logansport, Steve Baldini, who is part-owner of D & J Liquor Corporation, said they card people when they walk into their stores.
“Our intentions are we don’t want people under the age of 21 walking in,” Baldini said.
If two people come in together, and one isn’t buying alcohol, Baldini said they still card both, and won’t let them go further if they don’t have IDs or are underage.
“That’s what you need to do,” Baldini said.
At Amelio and Ike’s Sports Bar, owner Larry Isaacs said he won’t let anyone under the age of 21 go from the family side of the restaurant to the bar side. By law, they’re also required to card anyone that looks under the age of 30, he said.
The rules also stipulate that they have to card customers before they serve them a drink, he said.
Despite the excise police cracking down, Detective First Sgt. Brad Smith with the Logansport Police Department said underage drinkers are continuing obtain alcohol either though getting someone over the age of 21 to buy it or taking alcohol from their parent’s homes.
“It’s always been an issue,” Smith said.
The police department arrested 105 underage drinkers in 2012 and 99 in 2011. The numbers appear to have hovered in the 100 range for several years, Smith said.
“It seems to be a fairly consistent number,” Smith said.
Cass County Sheriff Randy Pryor said his department also faces problems with underage drinking, even if the alcohol is bought legally.
“Once that alcohol leaves the front door then that still poses problem for law enforcement,” Pryor said.
He added that the drinking puts others in danger if an underage drinker starts driving.
To help bring down the numbers, Smith said the police department works to educate youth about the dangers of drinking as well as about alcohol-related offenses.
He also said parents can help by keeping alcohol in the house locked up.
Pryor also said that the businesses are helping the police.
“The businesses are doing their part and law enforcement appreciates that,” Pryor said.
Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or firstname.lastname@example.org.