Albany, NY - June 15, 2016 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of coordinated sweeps during the summer concert season and at other underage hotspots as part of ongoing efforts to deter underage drinking and prevent the use of fake IDs. The enforcement sweeps will occur unannounced at various concert venues and other places where young adults congregate across the state, and will be carried out by the Department of Motor Vehicles' Division of Field Investigation in partnership with the State Liquor Authority, New York State Park Police, New York State Police, and local law enforcement agencies.
"Underage drinking and the bad decisions that follow lead to life-altering consequences for young people," Governor Cuomo said. "With this crackdown, we are not only sending the message that this behavior will not be tolerated in New York State, but we are taking steps to help prevent avoidable tragedies."
The summer crackdown is part of Operation Prevent, a DMV initiative conducted all year long that targets not only concerts, but bars and drinking establishments, events, and other underage hot spots. During an Operation Prevent sting, state investigators work with the State Liquor Authority and law enforcement entities to check identification documents. Patrons under the age of 21 found to be using fake IDs or false documents with the intent of purchasing alcohol can be arrested and have their license revoked for a minimum of 90 days or up to one year.
Last year, Governor Cuomo announced a similar statewide crackdown, which took place at concert venues that included Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), Darien Lake Performing Arts Center in Genesee County, and CMAC in Canandaigua. This year, Operation Prevent will expand to additional venues, including Nikon at Jones Beach Theater (Jones Beach State Park) on Long Island.
"Too often, innocent victims and young lives are lost and families’ dreams are shattered because of underage drinking," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "Under Operation Prevent, New York State is stepping up its efforts to deter underage drinking and prevent the use of fake identification. Let's enjoy world-class entertainment and all that this State has to offer and get home safely."
DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan said, "By announcing in advance of the summer concert season that DMV, SLA, and law enforcement will be checking IDs at summer concert venues, we hope to discourage young people from even thinking about obtaining a fake ID and using it to purchase alcohol. The bottom line is, using a fake ID isn’t worth it. Not only do you risk getting arrested, but you can lose your license for 90 days. That is a long time, particularly in the summer months. I thank our partners at SLA, New York State Parks, and law enforcement agencies statewide for helping us carry out this important initiative."
The New York State Park Police will continue a coordinated effort to crack down on illegal alcohol-related activities at and around Saratoga Spa State Park during the 2016 Saratoga Performing Arts Center Live Nation concert series as well as the summer concert series at Jones Beach. In addition to DMV, State Liquor Authority, and police officers using equipment to detect fake IDs, uniformed and plainclothes Park officers will:
- Patrol park grounds, parking areas, and the concert venue and make necessary arrests, issue tickets, impound vehicles, confiscate and discard alcoholic beverages, and eject violators from the park and concert venue.
- Use passive alcohol screening devices (Alco-Sensor FSTs) to detect alcohol in unmarked containers.
- Monitor roadways and entry points to screen motorists for possession of alcoholic beverages and drunk and impaired driving. Drunk and impaired drivers will be immediately arrested and their vehicles may be impounded.
Inside the SPAC and Jones Beach venues, a bracelet is required to purchase alcohol. Bracelets are obtained by showing legal ID at one of the ID stations set up inside the facility. Investigators from DMV and the State Liquor Authority will also be using portable document verification machines which allow them to conduct forensic examinations of suspect documents in the field using white light, UV light, and infrared light sources.
State Park Police Chief David Herrick said, "New York State Park Police look forward to working with our law enforcement partners to assure that visitors to State Park concert facilities enjoy a safe experience this summer. People who jeopardize public safety with underage drinking, driving while intoxicated and illegal drug use or possession will not be tolerated."
Operation Prevent is supported by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, which coordinates traffic safety activities in the state and awards federal highway safety grant funds to local, state, and not-for-profit agencies for projects to improve highway safety and reduce deaths and serious injuries due to crashes. The Governor announced in January that 2015 efforts to deter underage drinking by DMV investigators resulted in nearly 760 arrests and the seizure of more than 750 fraudulent identification documents. DMV, working closely with State Liquor Authority, conducted four joint operations in 2015, two of which resulted in the revocation of the establishments’ liquor licenses.
Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the State Liquor Authority has aggressively stepped up enforcement regarding sales to minors in addition to providing education to licensees on their responsibilities. Prosecutions by the State Liquor Authority increased to 1,552 violations in 2015, a 50 percent increase from 1,036 violations in 2010. The State Liquor Authority also increased the number of trainings to reduce underage sales and help licensees to avoid violations before they occur by certifying and promoting Alcohol Training Awareness Program. The number of trainings completed by licensees and their staff has increased by nearly threefold, from 5,014 in 2010, to 14,549 in 2015.
State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent G. Bradley said, "Keeping alcohol out of the hands of underage youth is a top priority at the New York State Liquor Authority. We remain committed to working proactively on the front lines with our partners at DMV, Parks and local law enforcement to ensure alcohol is sold and purchased responsibly by adults only."
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