Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brooksville Police Department grant will fund crackdown on sale of alcohol to minors

BROOKSVILLE — Stores, restaurants and bars that sell alcohol to underage customers are likely to face crackdowns from the Brooksville Police Department in 2011.

A $5,000 grant from the Hernando County Community Anti-Drug Coalition will enable the department to double the number of undercover operations it conducts to enforce compliance with state laws that require anyone who purchases alcohol to be at least 21 years old, said Brooksville police Chief George Turner.

The department will hire minors to try to buy alcohol or cigarettes, and vendors who don't check identification will be arrested and taken into custody, Turner said.

Undercover police officers will be in or near the stores as minors try to buy the alcohol. Previously, Turner said, businesses have failed to check and verify IDs in about half of the cases.

"It's very controlled," Turner said. "(The minors) are never alone."

In the past, the department has conducted three or four undercover operations a year. Under the stepped-up program, Turner said, about five of the department's officers will conduct an additional five or six full days of investigations during the year. The grant will pay the salaries of the officers for their extra work, he said.

"Most of it will be extra-duty time that would normally be off time," he said. "It won't negatively affect our regular operations."

Susan Carrigan of the Anti-Drug Coalition said her organization reached out to the Brooksville Police Department because the sale of alcohol to minors is a big problem in Hernando County.

"We looked at the data," she said. "The top priority of the state was underage drinking."

The coalition is out to educate people, not punish them, she said.

Carrigan helped negotiate a deal with the State Attorney's Office and the courts so first-time offenders can take a class in lieu of a $500 fine. Repeat offenders will face more serious consequences.

"Most of the time, what happens is that the vendors are busy and they aren't paying attention to the kid using the false ID," she said. "The compliance checks are really important. We're going to send letters to people who are doing the right thing."

The Hernando County Sheriff's Office is not a part of the partnership but typically conducts one or two undercover investigations a year targeting sale of alcohol to minors. The most recent was in April, when deputies checked 46 stores and issued six citations.

Brittany Alana Davis can be reached at (352) 848-1432 or

Brooksville Police Department grant will fund crackdown on sale of alcohol to minors 01/01/11 [Last modified: Saturday, January 1, 2011 10:22am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Cue the Scott Frost to Nebraska speculation


    Nebraska shook up the college sports world Thursday afternoon when it fired athletic director Shawn Eichorst.

    And that should scare UCF fans.

  2. Oh, Florida! Irma's gone, but she left behind plenty of lessons for us


    I don't want to make light of the misery and death that Hurricane Irma inflicted on Florida this month. A lot of it was ugly, and some of it was downright criminal. We saw greed and pettiness on display, and it brought illness and death.

    Tampa Bay Times staff writer Craig Pittman.
  3. Make-A-Wish Foundation aims to help more kids in Tampa Bay


    The Make-A-Wish Foundation is on the lookout for sick children in the Tampa Bay area who need a once-in-a-lifetime pick-me-up.

    Grace Savage, a 10-year-old girl with a chromosomal disorder made a trek to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium last year, courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The foundation intends to beef up its presence in the Tampa Bay area after a reorganization. The region is now the responsibility of the foundation's Southern Florida chapter, one of the most active in the country, with more than 11,000 wishes granted so far. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times ]
  4. William March: Frank Reddick says all-white Tampa council possible


    A decline in the percentage of black voters in Tampa's only majority-black City Council district, District 5, has council member Frank Reddick worried.

    City Council member Frank Reddick said that if Tampa can't maintain African-American voter numbers, he could be the council's last African-American representative. [JAMES BORCHUK   |   Times (2016)]
  5. Florida hides details in nursing home reports. Federal agencies don't.


    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott widened his offensive Thursday against the Broward nursing home he blames for the deaths of 10 residents by setting up a tip line for information, but when it comes to access to the inspection reports of all nursing homes, the governor's administration has heavily censored what the …

    In the foreground is a document detailing the findings of a Feb. 2016 inspection at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills obtained from a federal agency, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Behind it is the state?€™s version of the same document, from the Agency for Health Care Administration, showing how it has been redacted before being released to the public. [Miami Herald]