CHESTERFIELD, Va. – In the past three weeks, officials have gone undercover in at least 100 Chesterfield stores, to make sure that clerks are following the law when it comes to alcohol sales.
The Chesterfield Police Department has been working with Virginia Alcohol and Beverage Control, and the organization Substance Abuse Free Environment (SAFE), who have sent underage students into stores.
They said that 18 different times, they found that clerks sold to minors -- a misdemeanor crime.
Chesterfield mom Michelle Ferguson said she knows the dangerous toll alcohol takes on young lives, and she is scared by the thought of her daughters and other teens getting access to it.
“I don't want to bury any of my children,” she said.
The executive director of SAFE, Regina Whitsett, said alcohol use is down among 8th, 10th and 12th graders in the county, though binge drinking is up among 12th graders.
The compliance checks are intended as one way to fight underage drinking.
“We want to do whatever we can to reduce access and availability of the product,” she said.
Her organizations helps train the youth and police will go out to the stores with them. If alcohol is sold then the clerk gets a citation and the licensee also has a fine.
Whitsett and Ferguson hope the compliance roundup sends a strong message to clerks.
“We want to raise everyone's awareness and ask that you keep alcohol out of the hands of our young children,” Ferguson said.
“Not only is it against the law, you're endangering children’s lives and others by doing so,” Whitsett said.
An $ 8,000 grant from the VA ABC, obtained by SAFE, helped conduct the dozens of compliance checks for businesses here in Chesterfield...
Business owners should know VA ABC conducts random checks like these throughout the year all across the state.