The 2003 Annual Conference took place September 17-20 in sunny Atlanta, Georgia. To begin the conference on Wednesday evening, a President’s reception was held for NLLEA members in one of the Hyatt’s beautiful suites. Thursday morning, the opening ceremonies commenced with the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department color guard, followed by cordial greetings from NLLEA President David Wilson, Georgia Department of Revenue’s Alcohol and Tobacco Division Director Ronald Johnson, Center for Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Director Johnnetta Davis-Joyce, Highway Safety Specialist Bob Hohn from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Georgia Department of Revenue Commissioner Bart Graham, Fulton County Sheriff Jacquelyn Barrett, and Chief Richard Pennington from the Atlanta Police Department.
After the NLLEA roll call of states, the OJJDP opening ceremonies took place. Each state participated by providing inspiring testimonies of their success in enforcing underage drinking laws and reducing youth access to alcohol. Conference attendees then took part in several excellent seminars, were able to visit various exhibits, and took advantage of beneficial networking opportunities. Some of the workshop highlights included:
- Scott Friedlein from the Champaign Police Department and Leo Sokoloski from the Bloomsburg Police Department gave an extraordinary session on enforcing underage drinking laws in college communities by using compliance checks, false ID checks, and other creative strategies;
- Jackie Eliason and Gerry Metcalf, both from Washington State Liquor Control Board presented a new plan of action called DUI Reduction Emphasis, and gave information on how the program is implemented to reduce problems with alcohol over-service;
- Michael Earnest and Katherine Richardson, both from the Georgia Department of Revenue, focused on the history and expansion of the Underage Investigative Group in Georgia, which included statistics concerning the number of investigations performed and the increased compliance rate that results from consistent operations concerning sales to underage persons;
- John Fox from the Dekalb County Police Department, and Jeff Kelsey form PAS Systems International gave a creative PowerPoint presentation on the definition of a ‘true” passive alcohol sensor (PAS) and how they currently use it in several communities to better enforce and deter impaired driving and Zero Alcohol Tolerance;
- Marjean Searcy from the Salt Lake City Police Department, and James Copple from PIRE discussed the methamphetamine and clandestine drug lab dilemma, and the prevention and environmental change strategies that are currently being adapted in order to lessen substance abuse;
- Lauren Tyson from the California Alcoholic Beverage Control presented a workshop demonstrating the benefits of the Decoy Shoulder Tap Program, and how it has reduced the number of adults who purchase alcohol for minors. Both the challenges and accomplishments were discussed, and sufficient information was given to be able to replicate the program in other states and communities;
- David Alexander and Greg Hamilton, both from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, and Rebecca Ramirez from PIRE, presented an informative session on enforcement of alcohol policies related to happy hour specials, and how the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has applied a new enforcement strategy to guarantee that on-premise establishments are in compliance with these laws.
On Saturday afternoon, NLLEA members were transported to the Fox Theatre for the OJJDP Awards luncheon where, as guest speaker, Mark Pertschuk, from the Marin Institute, focused on the successful history of the tobacco control movement, and revealed important lessons that are necessary for maintaining a strong alcohol policy movement.
The 2003-2004 Board of Directors were sworn into office at the NLLEA Banquet on Saturday evening. Aidan Moore became the new President, followed by Rick Phillips as Vice President, Linda Ignowski as Secretary/Treasurer, and Shawn Walker as Sergeant at Arms.
The founding members of NLLEA who were present at the conference were also recognized at the banquet on Saturday evening.
This year’s annual NLLEA Conference was a tremendous success; gaining new members and impressing on conference attendees the importance and impact liquor law enforcement policies have in the United States and Canada.