ABC board approves contract with state agency for law enforcement
By Jessie Burchette
State Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) will provide enforcement and education services for the Rowan-Kannapolis ABC system.
Members of the Rowan-Kannapolis Alcoholic Beverage Control Board unanimously approved a one-year contract recently with ALE, which will provide the service for $25,000.
ALE is a division of the N.C. Department of Crime Control and Public Safety.
For the past several years, the local ABC board has spent more than $100,000 a year to provide personnel and equipment for law enforcement and educational efforts.
“It was a no-brainer,” said Terry Osborne, general manager of the local agency, who initiated discussions with the state after learning of a similar contract between the Halifax ABC system and ALE that has worked well for years.
In addition to the regular enforcement provided by ALE, agents would provide other assistance as needed, including training sessions for employees of bars and educational efforts in schools to fight underage drinking.
Richard Griffin, a district supervisor with ALE, met with the ABC board last month to discuss the contract and services. Griffin said one ALE officer would work out of the Salisbury ABC office and any of the other 15 officers in the Charlotte district would be available if needed.
The contract is handled by the state, and officers are paid for the extra work as overtime.
Osborne said the one-year contract will allow time to see how the arrangement works and if more services are needed. He took the contract to Raleigh last week and is awaiting approval.
In addition to alcohol enforcement statewide, ALE also is responsible for enforcing state tobacco, controlled substance and gambling laws, taking legal action on nuisance establishments and housing the Center for Missing Persons.
ALE’s 117 sworn agents have broad authority as peace officers to arrest and take other investigatory and enforcement actions for any criminal offense.
The Rowan-Kannapolis system has been among 20 systems out of 156 in the state that had its own enforcement.
The board also heard a proposal from the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, which would have cost more than $50,000 a year.
The board began looking at options following the April 28 resignation of William T. “Bill” Belvin from the enforcement position. He had worked for the system since Jan. 1, 2004.
Roy Purvis, a retired Rowan sheriff’s deputy, has been serving as the system’s law enforcement officer. He will continue to head up security for the system’s seven stores and liquor-by-the-drink store at the main office on North Lee Street.