Police are making no secret of an undercover sting operation that officers and high school volunteers plan Wednesday to see if people selling alcoholic beverages are checking buyers’ identification.
They call it Operation Blackjack, and it targets anyone who police can find selling alcohol to customers who are under 21.
High school students who volunteered to team with police officers will be testing the requirement for vendors to verify that people they sell to are legally entitled to buy the beverages, police said.
Lt. Tracey Barker, commander of the department’s team of school resource officers, said a similar sweep last New Year’s Eve of 36 locations found three where under-21 customers were able to buy alcoholic beverages and one business that was not checking IDs.
Barker noted that if an underage customer can buy booze, the penalty falls on the person who sold it, not the store where it happened.
State law makes selling to someone under 21 a Class 1 misdemeanor, which could carry a sentence of up to 45 days in jail and must carry a $250 fine and 25 hours of community service if there is no jail time.