Purpose of Practice
Business Alliance Program: Community Training, Over Consumption Prevention Initiatives, County Specific Alcohol Law and Regulation Training - A Business Alliance is an umbrella organization working to implement prevention, education and enforcement programs that have a direct impact on a neighborhood’s alcohol related social issues.
Description of Practice
Business Alliances serve as a community based umbrella organization under which local business owners’ work with state, county and city governments to customize and implement comprehensive prevention, education and enforcement programs addressing alcohol abuse, drinking in public and related issues. Alliance partners typically include the Department of Liquor Control, local and county police departments, local businesses that sell/serve alcohol, volunteer groups, Governors Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP), State and County Highway Safety Offices, local non-profits and others. Alliance initiatives are intended to have a direct impact on the neighborhood’s alcohol related, social issues where these partnerships exist. Community Outreach Business Alliance goals and objectives are to: • Reduce drunk driving and alcohol related crime stemming from over service and alcohol service to underage persons • Provide incentives and resources for responsible hospitality • Enhance capacity of existing agencies and associations to use resources more affectively • Improve practices of high risk establishments through risk assessments, trainings and business meetings • Create specific operational criteria for new businesses • Facilitate efficient accessibility to information and educational programs on responsible hospitality • Enhance professional skills and image of those working in the industry Program tools include: • Cops in Shops Program (CIS)* • Risk Assessments • Enhanced Enforcement through Extra Eyes** • Local business meetings • Education through free Alcohol Law Education and Regulation Training (ALERT) Managed by the Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control, all services and program tools are free to the participating businesses. Police overtime, training and outreach materials are grant funded. *Century Council Program ** Montgomery County Department of Police Program
Success or Improvements
It was found that prior to this effort many businesses and their staff had not been provided adequate resources or training needed to be able to take responsibility for patrons and avoid high BACs. In the past pre and post tests given before and after trainings show a significant increase in knowledge by participants trained. The increase in alcohol knowledge of those trained positively reinforces alcohol regulation compliance, improving businesses and the community they serve. Additionally, the often isolated businesses establish a trust with local enforcement and county agencies to encourage future outreach. Policy building, teaching best practices and having the backing of police and code enforcement officials are imperative to reducing high BACs and preventing alcohol service to a known habitually addicted individual or someone who shows signs of intoxication. Shared ownership of the program maximizes media attention, participation and personal reward. Moreover, participants learn from each other and build a network that carries beyond the Business Alliance program, helping to build stronger communities.
Evaluation of the Practice
The increase in knowledge from ALERT trainings can be interpreted as a potential reduction in over-service. Reduced intoxication rates will reduce potential drunk drivers and lower rates of other alcohol related crimes in these areas.
The 2007 Montgomery’s BEST Award for Partnership. The 2008 National Association of Counties (NACO) Award for Collaboration
Name: Emily Detitta
Agency: Montgomery County Maryland Department of Liquor Control
Address: 16650 Crabbs Branch Way, Rockville, MD 20855