A community policing initiative, an online training program for those who sell and serve alcohol and effective new measures to stop violent, escalating crimes at licensed restaurants over the past year have earned the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) the Liquor Law Enforcement “Agency of Year” award from the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association (NLLEA).
“The NLLEA’s award for ‘Alcohol Law Enforcement Agency of the Year’ is given in recognition of demonstrated agency effectiveness, implementation of innovative programs, community or media recognition or model training programs or practices,” said NLLEA President James Jones. “The Virginia ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement has embodied all of these attributes over the past year, and the NLLEA was pleased to honor them.”
The NLLEA is a non-profit association of law enforcement personnel in the U.S. and Canada dedicated to the enforcement of liquor laws and regulations. The “Agency of the Year” award was one of four announced at the association’s annual conference held recently in Oklahoma City.
The award was given in recognition of the agency’s work in several enforcement areas including:
•investigating numerous incidents of violent crime at various licensed establishments, which resulted in six successful, immediate license suspensions;
•providing an online version of its free alcohol responsibility training courses; and
•partnering with the NLLEA, through the use of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) funds, to increase the agency’s outreach and training to local law enforcement agencies.
This is the second time Virginia ABC has received the NLLEA’s “Agency of the Year” award. It previously won this award in 2002.
“We are extremely honored to have been selected for this award by such a prestigious organization and are very proud of the dedicated men and women at ABC who work diligently each day to protect and serve the public through alcohol regulation and enforcement,” said Virginia ABC Chairman Jeff Painter.
Approximately 70 percent of enforcement activity is spent on regulatory compliance conducting background investigations, license suitability and inspections of licensed establishments. ABC special agents conduct investigations involving underage sales, fake IDs and other alcohol-related crimes including narcotics and weapons violations, tobacco smuggling, money laundering, tax fraud and counterfeiting.
Virginia ABC's Bureau of Law Enforcement is accredited by the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission (VLEPSC). Last year, the bureau conducted 11,607 inspections and 3,619 Underage Buyer (UAB) compliance checks at licensed establishments throughout the commonwealth.
The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is a major source of revenue for the commonwealth, contributing more than $1.9 billion to the general fund in the last five years. The agency currently operates 368 state stores. Its Bureau of Law Enforcement oversees more than 17,000 ABC licensed establishments while the Hearings and Appeals Division considers more than 700 cases each year. The agency also provides alcohol education and prevention programs for people of all ages. Now marking its 83rd year, ABC remains committed to progress and innovation in carrying out its control, service and revenue mission.