Operation “Safe Prom” deters alcohol sales to underage minors

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Alcoholic Beverage and Tobacco conducted two operations, called “Operation Safe Prom,” in an attempt to reduce the sale of alcohol to minors during this month’s prom season.

The two agencies used underage volunteers who were sent into various convenient stores throughout Indian River County.

The first operation was on May 6 and concentrated primarily on the north end of the county.  Sebastian River High School Prom was May 8.

The second operation was on May 20, two days before Vero Beach High School’s Prom.  During this event, detectives worked mostly in the south and west parts of the county.

During the two operations, more than 75 retail stores that sold alcohol and tobacco were visited.  The undercover minors were able to make three purchases of alcohol but no tobacco was sold to them.

Sheriff Deryl Loar said he considers the operations a success as it appears that the vast majority of retailers are doing their jobs by checking identification and not selling to minors.

The purpose of these operations is to prevent the sale of alcohol to minors, especially during prom weekends that have traditionally had a higher probability of underage drinking.

The Sheriff’s Office did this prior to the proms in hopes that the word would spread among alcohol retailers.

“We wanted clerks to know that if they don’t check an underage customer’s identification, there could be detectives outside ready to make an arrest,” the Sheriff’s Office said.

Sheriff Loar said he is proud to note that there were no significant problems during the prom weekends and no traffic fatalities resulting from driving under the influence.

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