The 27th Annual NLLEA Conference “Advancing Liquor Law Enforcement to Meet the Challenges of Today’s Society” took place in Phoenix, Arizona from July 31 to August 2, 2013 at the Arizona Grand Resort. There were over 120 professionals from the liquor law enforcement field in attendance. NLLEA was fortunate to have the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control co-sponsor the conference.
Prior to the opening ceremonies, NLLEA offered a pre-conference training entitled “Source Investigations: A strategy to combat impaired driving and other alcohol-involved fatalities”. NLLEA consultant Steve Ernst presented an overview of the source investigation toolkit developed by the NLLEA through funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Over 50 participants learned specific steps and protocols to use in conducting a source investigation and discussed tactics to employ when conducting a source investigation.
The NLLEA Conference Opening Ceremonies began Wednesday afternoon, July 31, with the United States National Anthem being sung by Phoenix Police Department’s Sergeant Shelley Munos followed by the Presentation of the Colors by the Phoenix Police Department Honor Guard. Phoenix Police Department Chief Daniel Garcia shared opening comments about the important role liquor law enforcement has played with his department and Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control Director Alan Everett shared an overview of his department’s initiatives and goals. The Opening Ceremonies concluded with a presentation by international keynote speaker Detective Superintendent Patrick Widell of Stockholm, Sweden sharing some of the challenges they face in alcohol law enforcement and strategies they have engaged to prevent over-service, enforce minimum age purchase laws, encourage responsible beverage service, and work with licensed establishments to reduce alcohol-related violence and crime.
NLLEA members then attended the President’s Reception at Aunt Chilada’s restaurant. The reception gave professionals in the field an opportunity to share best practices with one another in an informal setting.
Thursday’s sessions began with a thought-provoking general session presented by Senior Officer Craig Miller of the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control. Officer Miller shared the approach to and findings of an intensive investigation conducted by his department that unveiled wrongful activity on all three levels of the Arizona three-tiered system. The session was followed by two workshops, one presented jointly by the Washington State Liquor Control Board and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department focusing on using data to enhance enforcement efforts and the other presented by Boise Police Department’s Officer Jermaine Galloway on everyday dangers for liquor law enforcement officers.
Following the morning’s general session and workshops, participants enjoyed luncheon speaker Richard M. Blau, Chair of GrayRobinson’s Alcohol Industry Team, as he presented on changing judicial views of due process and new judicial precedents that influence liquor law enforcement. The luncheon was followed by NLLEA’s annual business meeting and NLLEA banquet.
On Friday, the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement presented the steps their agency has taken to improve the quality of their enforcement, sharing training and procedures they have implemented. Pennsylvania’s general session was followed by two workshops. The Chief of the Bloomsburg Police Department, Leo Sokoloski and members of the Phoenix Police Department Drug Enforcement Bureau presented on strategies to build successful neighborhood partnerships to ensure meeting community enforcement needs. In the second workshop, Investigator Corey Adams and Information Systems Manager Phil St. John of the Kentucky Alcoholic Beverage Control discussed accessing data in real time to enhance enforcement efforts. The closing general session was presented by Agent in Charge SuAnn Cook of the Ohio Investigative Unit and Officer Robert Sturgis and ABC Officer Fred Alvarez of the Ontario Police Department, joined by Omar Gonzalez of Reach Out. Their session discussed a new trend in liquor law enforcement: synthetic drugs.
The Annual Business Meeting was held Thursday afternoon, with the membership voting to approve all business conducted by the NLLEA Executive Board during the past year. The members were updated on the cooperative agreement with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the fiscal standing of the association, and the past year’s communication initiatives. The membership then approved new members and elected Lieutenant James A. Jones Jr., Western Section Commander of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, to the position of NLLEA Sergeant-at-Arms.
Thursday evening’s NLLEA Banquet began with a tribute to fallen officers and a performance by the Arizona Police and Fire Emerald Society Pipes and Drums. Dinner was followed by a presentation of the annual NLLEA awards. Award recipients included: Pennsylvania state Police Bureau of Liquor control Enforcement receiving the Innovative Liquor Law Enforcement Program of the Year; Special Agent mark Scott of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control receiving the Liquor Law Enforcement Agent of the Year Award; and the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control receiving the Liquor Law Enforcement Agency of the Year Award. The NLLEA also presented a Service Award to the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control for co-hosting the conference and to James Wilson for serving as the NLLEA Board President from 2012-2013. (Check out the NLLEA Awards page for more details.)
Immediate Past President Richard Cologie swore in the 2013-2014 NLLEA Board of Directors: President Frederick Mahony, Vice President Joseph Cannon, Secretary/Treasurer Wesley Kuhl, Sergeant-At-Arms James Jones, and Immediate Past President James Wilson.
The 27th Annual NLLEA conference provided quality training and networking opportunities to liquor law enforcement professionals from across North America and abroad. NLLEA thanks the presenters for their engaging and informative sessions and looks forward to next year’s conference. Stay tuned for information about the 28th Annual Conference to be announced soon.