DERRY — Derry police recently received approval from town councilors for a grant to continue to conduct underage drinking buys at local businesses.
Councilors voted 5-1 Tuesday night to accept a grant through the state for enforcement of underage drinking laws. Council Chairman Mark Osborne cast the lone opposing vote.
In a brief presentation, Derry police Chief Edward Garone said the department will use funds from the grant to seek out stores and merchants that sell alcohol in town. Police want to ensure the businesses are in compliance with state law, Garone said.
To enforce the laws, officers occasionally conduct underage buys. They try to find someone who looks young and under 21 to go into the stores and attempt to buy alcohol.
““We are looking for these merchants to succeed, we are not trying to trick them,” Garone said. “We have a very high compliance rate in Derry. We do have the occasional errant behavior, but generally speaking, it’s pretty high.”
Councilor Thomas Cardon asked how police educate bar and store owners on what to look for from underage drinkers. Garone said officers typically point out such items as the differences in license shapes issued to people underage. For instance, the license of someone who is underage is vertical, but horizontal for someone who over 21.
Osborne asked Garone what typically happens to an employee who is caught selling alcohol to someone underage.
Garone said it depends on the circumstances surrounding the incident, but generally speaking “the fate of the employee has to do with the employer, not so much us.”