Purpose of Practice

Provide interactive training for recruits at the Police Academy regarding their statutory duties regarding alcohol. (updated 2012)

Description of Practice

A comprehensive, curriculum based, intensive program encompassing inebriation laws, various intoxication laws and regulations for liquor license holders, and underage use of alcohol. Practical scenarios are used to teach the new officers how to effectively and safely handle underage drinking parties in simulated real-life settings using real teens. These scenarios begin at the basic stage with the teens being cooperative and non-combative. Upon conclusion of the particular scenario, the role players go out of role and help the teachers and evaluators give instant feedback to the officers so lessons can be quickly learned and any issues corrected. By the end of the day, the scenarios have become very complicated with teens becoming obstrutive and untruthful, some even taking flight when the officers arrive. The skill-set to safely and effectively handle these situations does become quite advanced.

Success or Improvements

We have partnered with area teens via various schools’ criminal justice programs. By using real-age teen actors, the scenarios become very lifelike. The type of venue (from a wooded area, to in a home, to in a warehouse, to in a hotel room) are practiced throughout the day. The police recruits have raved about this method of training, since they are able to get "hands-on" with underage drinking enforcement in such a way as to quickly learn from any mistakes and how to utilize good police procedures, at the same time understanding the complexity of these situations and just how their legal responsibility should be applied.

Evaluation of the Practice

This course of study was certified and approved by the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council for inclusion in the curriculum as mandated training for all law enforcement personnel. Re-evaluation and recertification is perpetual.


This mandatory course of study for new officers is an integral part of the training at the Academy and practical exercises are used to evaluate the competency of the officers during their final exam.


Name: Kathy O'Hara, Personnel Administrator 
Agency: Vermont Department of Liquor Control 
Address: 13 Green Mountain Drive, Drawer 20, Montpelier, VT 05602 
Tele: 802-828-4934 
Email: kathy.ohara@state.vt.us