ELLSWORTH – Cops in Hancock County went undercover to nab adult beverage servers and sells supplying underage drinkers.
It’s all part of an ongoing effort to keep the roads free of drunk drivers, regardless of age.
It’s called the R.I.D.E. Team, or Regional Impaired Driver Enforcement Team. And it’s members are from the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office as well as local police departments throughout the county.
Last Tuesday, the team sent undercover agents into 40 retail outlets and four bars. Nine of those businesses were cited for selling liquor to minors.
“We use underage people, under the age of 21, that look at least 27 years of age. The law says for you to sell you must look at least 27 years of age,” said Scott Kane, Hancock County Sheriff.
According to Kane, there’s no trickery or lying involved in the sting.
“They attempt to purchase. If they’re asked their date of birth, they tell them what their date of birth is,” Kane said during a Monday morning interview.
While the business owners may challenge the charges in court, none of the summonses were questioned when they were issued.
“We had situations where a seller was told by the person who went in and attempted to buy what their date of birth is and and the seller said, well, I don’t want to do the math. I’m going to sell it to you anyways,” according to Kane.
In these cases it was just the business owners who were charged, but often it is the clerk as well as the owner who gets charged and fined.
The recent Hancock County Sheriff’s Office operation targeting servers and sellers probably won’t be the last they do this holiday season.