This year’s 22nd Annual Conference, Enhancing Public Safety through Liquor Enforcement, was held in Nashville, Tennessee. For a week in late August, conference attendees enjoyed the splendor that is the Gaylord Opryland Resort and all its offerings in terms of fine food and entertainment – that is, when they weren’t engrossed in any one of an exceptional array of workshops and plenary sessions given by their fellow NLLEA members and special guest speakers.
Most attendees arrived Tuesday night to participate in the President’s Reception, which was held in the Resort’s Delta Island. Members feasted on fine cuts of beef, chicken cordon bleu, and marinated meatballs as well as treats from the delectable desert table. Wednesday morning kicked-off the conference with the opening session. Speakers included Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission Director Danielle Elks, OJJDP representative Sharie Cantelon, and NHTSA contract officer Bob Hohn. The Metro Nashville Honor Guard participated in the opening ceremonies by presenting colors.
After the opening session, representatives from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) presented a plenary session reviewing the current research and policies supporting the minimum legal drinking age. Afterwards, guests retreated to their rooms to get ready for the afternoon activity – a ride on the General Jackson Showboat! Those who participated in the Showboat trip enjoyed lunch on the Cumberland River. Boat-goers also caught views of downtown Nashville and the Titans football stadium, The Coliseum. In the evening, attendees were treated to a trip to downtown Nashville as well as a Texas Hold’em Tournament in the regal Presidential Suite.
Thursday it was time to get down to business – NLLEA business, that is. Workshops that day included presentations from the Vermont Department of Liquor Control on assisting licensees train their employees and the Indiana State Excise Police on alcohol compliance surveys. After the OJJDP 10th Anniversary Awards Luncheon, the NLLEA Business meeting concluded the afternoon’s activities. Rich Cologie of the Ohio Investigative Unit was elected to the NLLEA Executive Board as the new Sergeant-at-Arms, and the annual business report was disseminated and discussed.
On Friday, representatives from the Vermont Department of Liquor Control and the New Hampshire Liquor Commission Bureau of Enforcement hosted a plenary session on the benefits of collaborating agencies on either side of bordering states. Workshops included information on Mobile Tablet Technology and Happy Hour Laws (thanks to the Georgia Department of Revenue, Alcohol and Tobacco Division and the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, respectively). At the Law Enforcement Awards Luncheon that afternoon, the NLLEA presented their awards for Innovative Liquor Law Enforcement Program of the Year, Liquor Law Enforcement Agent of the Year, and Liquor Law Enforcement Agency of the Year. The afternoon sessions included workshops on conditional use permits by the Ontario Police Department and on Ventura County’s Responsible Retailer program.
The NLLEA Banquet was held Friday night at the Country Music Hall of Fame. The Cheesehat was passed from outgoing President Stacy Drakeford to incoming President Charles Sumner, and the new Executive Board members were sworn in. Banquet attendees dined on turkey, asparagus, and risotto, with Jack Daniels cheesecake for a special desert.
This year’s conference was the best so far – what will next year’s bring? Keep your eyes on your inbox for more information on the 23rd Annual Conference, coming soon!