Boise Police Department
News Release

William L. Bones
Chief of Police

Contact: BPD Media Relations Office


Monday, October 11, 2010

BPD Investigation: nearly half of businesses checked sold alcohol to teens

10-11-10 BPD Investigation: nearly half of businesses checked sold alcohol to teens

    Boise, Oct. 11, 2010 - Following up on citizen tips, Boise Police cited eleven businesses for selling alcohol to minors this past weekend. The businesses included restaurants, grocery and convenience stores. 

    "This is a huge safety issue for our young people. Alcohol is a factor in the leading causes of death for our young people including accidents and suicides as well as an instigating factor in youth crime," said Officer Jermaine Galloway. 

    On Friday night, Oct. 8th:

  • two minors entered 26 businesses and attempted to purchase alcohol. 
  • the minors, both age 18, were served or sold alcohol at 11 of the 26 businesses.
  • the minors used their real Idaho drivers licenses which are vertical in design and clearly labeled under 21.
  • several of the clerks or servers checked the minors ID prior to selling them alcohol. 
  • all but one of the businesses who sold the alcohol to the minors had been through the mandatory server training required in Boise City.

    Boise Police conduct these investigations, called "alcohol compliance checks" several times a year. Officers also help conduct server training free for any business who requests it.For more on the server training city ordinance, see Boise City Code 05-07.

    "We had been seeing a lot of improvement in recent months. Clerks and servers were recognizing the minors ID and refusing to sell. The failure rate this weekend was the highest we've seen in the past couple years." said Officer Galloway. "It's pretty disappointing, considering all but one of those who sold alcohol to the teenagers had gone through the training and should have known what they were doing, as well as the consequences."

    "We'll continue to try and educate servers, bartenders and store clerks," said Officer Galloway. "The holidays are coming up and a lot of celebrations revolve around alcohol. Our biggest priority is to make sure our young people stay safe and healthy enough to enjoy their future."


    Penalties of providing alcohol to underage youth:

• A person who sells or furnishes alcohol to an underage youth will face fines between $500 and $1,000 plus up to one year in jail.

    State Administrative Penalties for licensed establishments that sell alcohol to minors - maximums:
•1st offense within three years - 10 day license suspension or $1,000.00 fine
• 2nd offense within three year - 30 day license suspension or 15 day suspension and $1,500.00 fine
• 3rd offense within three years - 180 day license suspension


    According to a study published last year year by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration:

    "Alcohol is the most widely used substance of abuse among America's youth. Alcohol contributes to the three leading causes of death among 12-20-year-olds (unintentional injury, homicide and suicide). And research shows that those who start drinking before age 15 are six times more likely to have alcohol problems as adults than those who start drinking at age 21 or older." 

    The study revealed that more than a quarter of youth aged 12-20 (27.6 percent) drank alcohol nationwide in the month prior to the study, and approximately 8.6 percent of past-month drinkers aged 12-20 purchased their own alcohol the last time they drank.

    What can citizens do to help?

    Boise Police join Mothers Against Drunk Drivers in urging parents to talk to their kids about making smart choices and highlighting the dangers of drinking alcohol while their under 21. A MADD survey found parents have a greater influence than many parents might think over the choices their children make. Boise Police encourage parents to take advantage of a helpful web site provided by MADD: to help identify ways parents and concerned adults can keep kids safe from the dangers of alcohol.

    Call Crime Stoppers:

    Boise Police and Crime Stoppers have partnered on a campaign to decrease underage drinking. The partnership has proven successful for citizens who wish to easily, and perhaps anonymously report businesses where sales of alcohol to minors are occurring. 

    Boise Police and Crime Stoppers encourage citizens who know of places who serve alcohol to minors, or of places who may be overserving already intoxicated patrons to contact Crime Stoppers. Boise Police will follow up on citizen tips. You can contact Crime Stoppers at 343-COPS, or log onto, or text CRIMES or 274637, subject: Tip236.