The alcohol compliance operation was part of bi-annual alcohol and tobacco compliance checks run by the SPD each year.
The establishments failng the compliance checks were Grand Pizza, Chilkoot Cafe, Osaka Express, Oak Glen Golf Course, Lowell Inn, Mara Mi, Stillwater American Legion Post No. 48 and the Stillwater Country Club.
Representatives at most establishments declined to comment about the alcohol-compliance issue, but Jesse Kurtz of the Stillwater Legion post made the following statement:
“It is a state-mandated effort that the Stillwater Police enforce. We’re not disposing of our bartender. We think we have a better bartender now that she’s been bitten, actually,” he said. “But it’s part of the status quo and our antennaes are up going forward and that’s all I can say on that, I think.”
The compliance check outcome is not typical of these types of checks, according to SPD spokesman Sgt. Jeff Stender. He noted that past compliance checks have included only two alcohol compliance failures and none of those cited this time have a recent history of alcohol compliance violations.
“I was surprised and I can’t say why the compliance checks failed. I don’t know the root cause, but I just know that servers in these eight establishments weren’t doing their jobs,” Stender said.
Penalties for the establishments failing alcohol-compliance checks have a two-prong approach, according to Stender. He said the server can be criminally charged with serving a minor, a gross misdemeanor with a fine of up to $3,000 and two years in jail.
“But let’s be realistic, I’ve never seen that type of fine imposed on a server,” Stender said. “The liquor license holder is the responsible party and technically they could be charged criminally, but here (in Stillwater) we have civil penalties in the form of a fine.”
In case of a sale to a minor in Stillwater the following penalties are imposed.
- 1st offense is a $500 fine
- 2nd offense is a $750 fine and a 3-day liquor license suspension
- 3rd offense is a $1,000 fine and a 9-day liquor license suspension
- 4th offense is revocation of liquor license
Offenses are counted within a three-year period, Stender said.
Stender said the violations cited last weekend by officers were the first offenses in the past three years for each of the establishments listed above.
As far as what those establishments can do going forward, Stender said the city, Washington County and state have training available for beverage servers.
“Servers going forward should take their responsibility seriously and check IDs,” Stender said.
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