More than 100 local servers attended a voluntary training session Monday morning with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Officials said Monday’s turnout was strong. With more than 400 liquor licensees in Nevada County, 150 of them responded.
Organizers described the workshop as an interagency effort, involving personnel from the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, and Grass Valley and Nevada City police departments. The cost of producing the event was covered by the Sheriff’s Office using a grant obtained annually from ABC.
Education is one of the grant program’s stated goals — alongside prevention and enforcement. The workshop culminated with a quiz, and those who passed were issued a Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs (LEAD) certification.
Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Corchero said that educating local licensees about liquor laws can help reduce alcohol-related crimes.
Those have been identified as a significant problem facing Nevada City by Tim Foley, the new chief of police.
“There’s been a perception by some that it’s OK to keep serving somebody, and that’s not OK,” Foley said. “It leads to fights, it leads to drunk drivers, it leads to accidents.”
One major point of instruction dealt with determining when to refuse service to customers who are clearly no longer sober. According to California law, giving alcohol to any person who is obviously intoxicated already is a misdemeanor.
“You cannot serve them if they’re obviously intoxicated,” said ABC agent Kathy Chavez. “And they don’t necessarily have to be falling down.”
Some customers hold their liquor better than others, she said, so it may not be possible to make the decision solely on how many drinks the customer has had. Servers can also gauge a customer’s level of intoxication using a variety of factors including odor, speech and coordination.
Chavez also covered the various forms of official identification that are considered valid by the ABC, including passports, driver’s licenses and military and government-issued ID cards.
When refusing service, the ABC advises workers to be courteous and firm, but avoid embarrassing the customer. It’s also important to document the incident and advise the bar’s management team.
When appropriate, workers are advised to arrange a safe ride home for customers who have been cut off.
Check back with www.TheUnion.com later this week for a complete list of local liquor establishments that successfully completed Monday’s training session, earning the ABC’s LEAD certification.
To contact staff writer Dave Brooksher, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4230.