Escondido, CA

Escondido PD to host voluntary alcohol-server class

City’s bars, restaurants getting face-to-face invitations

An Escondido police officer and a local nonprofit’s employees are visit­ing local bars and restaurants to hand- deliver invitations for an alcohol server training and encourage the businesses to send their workers to the free class.

The police department, nonprofit North Inland Community Prevention Program and the state Alcoholic Bev­erage Control will host the voluntary training from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, July 29 in the Mitchell Room at Escon­dido City Hall, 201 N. Broadway in Es­condido.

Led by a former ABC investigator, the class will teach participants how to spot fake IDs, determine when cus­tomers are intoxicated and safely stop serving them, among other things. The training augments other police depart­ment efforts to reduce drunk driving crashes.

“It’s not just about DUI checkpoints,” said Police Chief Craig Carter. “We need to be proactive and get out there and try to educate people by getting them to these trainings. The obvious goal is education about over-serving (of alcohol) and looking for signs of intoxi­cation.”

Most San Diego County cities require anyone who sells or serves alcohol in a store, restaurant or bar to successfully complete server training every two years. The ABC offers the class free of charge in cities throughout the region, to ensure it is available for those who need it.

While Escondido does not require the training, the police department periodi­cally hosts voluntary classes, but seats at those trainings typically are filled primarily by people who need the train­ing due to their jobs in nearby cities.

In an effort to boost local bars’ and restaurants’ participation, the ABC agreed not to accept reservations for the July 29 class from non-Escondido businesses’ employees until two weeks before the training. The personal invita­tions are designed to raise the local at­tendance rate, as well.

Funded by the County, the North In­land Community Prevention Program routinely surveys participants in the ABC’s alcohol server class about their perceptions of the training. Survey re­sults from participants at the ABC alco­hol server class in San Marcos showed the majority of participants attend class only because they are required to or be­lieved the training would increase their chances of being hired by one of the city’s stores, bars or restaurants.

Most survey respondents also said that by the end of the class, they felt it had been well worth their time, survey results show.

An early-June collision in Escondido that resulted in the death of a pregnant victim’s unborn child is a recent trag­ic example of how the city is affected by the problem of drunk driving. The man whose car hit the victim’s is facing multiple felony charges, including two counts of DUI causing injury.

While it’s unclear whether he had been at a bar or restaurant beforehand, results from a survey routinely con­ducted by law enforcement officers when they make drunk driving arrests show that many of the arrestees say they obtained their last alcoholic drink at a bar or restaurant.

Training bar and restaurant workers to identify underage or intoxicated drink­ers and safely stop serving them can only help with the effort, the Escondido police chief said. “I highly recommend it (the ABC server class); there’s no downside to this,” said Carter.

Escondido’s alcohol-licensed busi­nesses can call North Inland Communi­ty Prevention Program at 858-391-9303 to reserve seats for their employees at the July 29 Escondido training.

The North Inland Community Pre­vention Program is operated by Mental Health Systems and is funded in part by the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, Behavioral Health Services.

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