The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

September 9, 2013

Program to aid appropriate employee alcohol sales

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Reducing underage drinking will require community-based efforts to monitor activities of youth and decrease youth access to alcohol, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

In an effort to improve appropriate employee alcohol sales, the Enid Event Center and Convention Hall is joining PreventionWorkz for a special program today titled Special Event Responsible Beverage Sales and Services.

The idea originated after the recent Rodney Atkins show, when PreventionWorkz director Sean Byrne and Event Center Manager Keller Taylor began discussing the right way to do it. PreventionWorkz provides collaboration with the Oklahoma Alcohol Beverage Law Enforcement Commission. Byrne commended Taylor for doing everything he can to provide an enjoyable event and make sure it is a safe environment for families.

Special Event training is a new free-of-charge program offered by PreventionWorkz and the ABLE Commission. Every event serving alcohol must obtain a license from the ABLE Commission, Oklahoma Tax Commission, district court and the city of Enid. The licensee is responsible for any wrongdoing at their event, but those physically serving alcohol are held legally responsible.

“It is not a requirement to attend the training to receive a license, it shows a level of concern and responsibility from the organizers, that they are taking extra measures to protect the community, their attendees and themselves from legal, civil and social consequences,” Byrne said.

The class targets special event alcohol sales, such as a concert, parade, or any type of one-time event not in a set location, where alcohol is served regularly, he said. “Often, special events have staff who may not be experienced in the process of requesting an I.D., or in recognizing the signs of intoxication,” Byrne said.

People who work in convenience stores, bars or restaurants have been trained to ask for an I.D., or in spotting a person who is intoxicated, he said.

Some special events also may have a large number of people coming in, and often use wristbands to note people who have paid admission. Sometimes, the server looks at the wristband and does not check the I.D., Byrne said.

“That’s not a good way. Sometimes, the wristbands can be traded from one person to another and the criminal charge goes against the server,” he said.

Individuals working at special events should be aware that in Oklahoma it is illegal to serve a person who is intoxicated, or who is intoxicated in public. “I really want to commend the Enid Event Center. They are taking this seriously and really want to do the right thing,” Byrne said.

Taylor said Global Spectrum, the management company for Enid Event Center and Convention Hall, has its own internal training and all employees hold an ABLE license. “We felt it was necessary to do extra training for staff and administration, for both the event center and convention hall,” Taylor said.

Taylor said there have been no problems at any of the events held at either location, and the procedures and policies they have in place work well for both venues. “We haven’t had any challenges, we’re just trying to stay proactive and make sure everybody can come and have a safe experience, whether they are consuming alcohol or not,” Taylor said.