Sound governance, bold leadership, innovation, resourcefulness and community partnerships during an unprecedented year have earned the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) the Alcohol Law Enforcement Agency of the Year award from the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association (NLLEA). 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 association announced ABC’s award today during its virtual annual business meeting.
“The NLLEA’s award for Alcohol Law Enforcement Agency of the Year is given to an agency that has demonstrated effectiveness through the implementation of innovative programs, community and media recognition, and model training programs, practices and strategies,” said NLLEA President Greg Croft. “Virginia ABC’s Bureau of Law Enforcement has embodied all of these attributes over the past year, and the NLLEA is pleased to honor them.”
“While our Bureau of Law Enforcement emphasizes regulatory enforcement with an eye toward voluntary compliance, this year they went even further in supporting licensees affected by economic uncertainties brought on by the global pandemic by providing guidance and relief from regulatory challenges wherever possible,” said ABC Chief Executive Officer Travis Hill. “They accomplished this objective while maintaining a focus on public safety. Our agents, under Chief Tom Kirby’s leadership, have my gratitude and support in fulfilling their important mission.”
Virginia ABC’s Bureau of Law Enforcement has issued 16 Topic responses since a State of Emergency went into effect on March 12. Notable regulatory adjustments have included:
“It’s an honor to receive national recognition from our peers,” said Chief Law Enforcement Officer Tom Kirby. “Throughout this extraordinary year, both sworn and non-sworn staff have worked around-the-clock to carry out our mission, adjusting and adapting whenever needed. It was truly a team effort.”
In addition to the regulatory adjustments ABC has made this year in response to the pandemic, the Alcohol Law Enforcement Agency of the Year award also recognized the Bureau’s work in other areas including:
Virginia ABC’s special agents are ABC law educators and regulators, working directly with approximately 19,000 licensed businesses to address non-compliance issues and reduce criminal activities involving alcohol. These agents also initiate public safety investigations following incidents at licensed establishments, which involve assisting and cooperating with local law enforcement agencies, civic leagues, residents, businesses and other community stakeholders.
All ABC special agents are sworn Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services certified law enforcement officers within the Bureau, which earned reaccreditation from the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission in January 2020 and met every standard of compliance during its assessment. The Bureau also includes licensing, compliance and records management staff who perform duties such as collecting Virginia state taxes, processing invoices and renewals, and informing and interacting with alcohol manufacturers, importers and distributors.
The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) is a major source of revenue for the commonwealth, contributing more than $2.3 billion to the general fund in the last five years. Virginia ABC currently operates 389 state stores and provides alcohol education and prevention programs for people of all ages. Its Bureau of Law Enforcement oversees approximately 19,000 ABC licensed establishments. Now marking its 86th year, ABC remains committed to progress and innovation in carrying out its vision of bringing good spirits and excellent service to Virginia.
Web: www.abc.virginia.gov Facebook: @VirginiaABC Twitter: @VirginiaABC