The ROCMND Regional Prevention Coordinator (RPC), will conduct over 114 tobacco checks and over 50 alcohol checks this year across Rogers, Ottawa, Craig, Mayes, Nowata, Delaware and Washington Counties in an effort to educate store clerks about the harmful effects of tobacco and alcohol use with minors.
The goal for alcohol compliance is to targert retailers in the community to determine whether the store will sell alcohol products to those under the age of 21.
RPC staff use students, ages 14-20, in an attempt to purchase the products. Employees who sell 3.2 percent alcohol to anyone under the age of 21, face a simple misdemeanor with a fine up to $500 for the first offense.
Employees who sell liquor to persons under the age of 21, face a felony with a fine of up to $500 for the first offense.
In addition, all liquor violations will be forwarded to ensure civil penalties against the liquor licenses.
Tobacco compliance check-ins are similar to that of alcohol check-ins.
The RPC staff use students from 13 to 17 years of age in an attempt to purchase certain tobacco products.
Along with undercover officers, underage patrons enter the businesses and attempt to illegally purchase alcoholic and tobacco products
“When partnering with the RPC, we make sure to select student volunteers for the right reasons,” said Claremore Chief of Police Stan Brown. “The selected students need to have an interest in what is trying to be prevented and not to find a way around the system.”
Brown said in the past, compliance efforts have worked effectively with store clerks.
ROCMND RPC is funded through the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and are required to conduct a specific number of these visits each fiscal year. For more information on how to stop youth tobacco and alcohol access call the ROCMND Regional Prevention Coordinator at (918) 256-7518.