Businesses favor bill that would let suspect IDs be confiscatedMany of those who serve alcoholic drinks in Jamestown and those who make sure minors don’t get served in Jamestown are in favor of a proposed Senate bill that would tighten restrictions on false identification. Senate Bill 2133 would allow servers to confiscate identification they believe to be altered, false or being used illegally before they are required to contact law enforcement. It received a do-pass recommendation Monday in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
Many of those who serve alcoholic drinks in Jamestown and those who make sure minors don’t get served in Jamestown are in favor of a proposed Senate bill that would tighten restrictions on false identification.
Senate Bill 2133 would allow servers to confiscate identification they believe to be altered, false or being used illegally before they are required to contact law enforcement. It received a do-pass recommendation Monday in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“There are so many forms of identification out there,” said Sgt. Tom Nagel with the Jamestown Police Department and instructor of server training. “We teach them what ones are acceptable or not.”
Those who sell and serve alcohol can go through training to get up to speed on what to look for when checking IDs. The fines that can be levied against them and the business they work for if a minor is served are also discussed.
Currently Nagel said he recommends servers quietly contact law enforcement to check if a suspicious ID is fake.
SB 2133 would allow employees to confiscate a suspected ID and require them to contact law enforcement, which Nagel currently recommends those who suspect a fake to do.
All of the establishments interviewed for this story reported seeing some form of false or altered identification in the past few months.
“I didn’t think it was a big deal until I started teaching this (class) but holy cow is it a big deal,” Nagel said of the amount of fake IDs.
In five years he has accumulated an ever-growing stack of fakes he uses in training servers for what to look for.
Questionable IDs can range from altered documentation, IDs created by amateurs with Photoshop and glue, foreign IDs, or even IDs some minors purchase online as a novelty item, which can cost as much as $300.
“Fake IDs is a very profitable business in the U.S.,” he said.
Nagel said he’s sees an increase in fake IDs when students come back to college for the start of a new semester.
The police do compliance checks four times a year with bars and liquor stores, but Nagel said never once have all the bars passed the same check.
“My goal is to have every establishment pass,” he said.
Cork & Barrel doesn’t see as many fakes as local bars but does get its share — maybe close to five in the past six months, said Scott Anderson, owner of the liquor store.
“Some of our part-timers at night might be the ones seeing things,” Anderson said.
This doesn’t mean he doesn’t see his share of people trying other forms of identification trying to purchase alcohol.
“If they don’t have a driver’s license — a college ID is something we’re not going to take,” he said.
A problem for Anderson is seeing someone with a legitimate ID purchasing alcohol driving a car full of minors. If that’s the case the employees usually take the license plate number and alert authorities.
Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill has a policy to prevent minors from obtaining drinks: card anybody who looks to be under the age of 40, said Jess Wald, general manager.
Fakes still find their ways to Applebee’s but Wald declined to comment on the amount.
“There have been several times where we’ve been suspicious of false IDs,” Wald said.
When confronted with what appears to be a fake, the shift manager at Applebee’s is alerted and can notify the police, she said.
One bar that doesn’t see a lot of false or altered identification is Office Bar and Lounge, said Bobbi Magnuson, owner.
“We’re more or less a blue-collar, beer-drinking, smoking bar,” Magnuson said. “Not a kid hangout.”
Mike Harris, co-owner of The Buff and IDK, declined to comment for this story.
Magnuson said she doesn’t recall in recent memory any fake or altered IDs. But when an ID is in question she lets the police know so they can investigate.
In the 25 years the Office has been open it’s had typically the same type of crowd, and new bars opening downtown have given minors more options to use their fakes, Magnuson said.
The Corner Bar opened 3 1/2 months ago and the bouncer already recalls at least four altered IDs on the weekends, said Sheldon Oviatt, owner.
“We just happen to have a bouncer at the door which helps us,” Oviatt said of the weekends.
Oviatt and the others interviewed agreed that SB 2133 is a good idea and should pass.
“If we could take that ID off of somebody it’s going to help the next bar they go to and detour youngsters from trying that,” he said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org