ABC board seeking additional enforcement
By Jessie Burchette
The Rowan/Kannapolis ABC board is considering a contract with the state Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) to provide law enforcement services in addition to what ALE already offers.
Board members are optimistic that a contract with ALE could save the system thousands of dollars while still providing needed enforcement and education.
Richard Griffin, a district supervisor with ALE, met with the three-member Rowan/Kannapolis Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Wednesday evening to discuss a possible contract.
The board has been looking at various options to provide law enforcement since the departure of William T. “Bill” Belvin in April. Belvin had served as the system’s law enforcement chief for four years.
Terry Osborne, ABC general manager, said other systems contract with ALE. He cited a contract with Halifax County where ALE provides a wide array of services and assistance at an annual cost of $18,000.
Last year, the ABC system spent $100,000 on its enforcement program. By state law, the system is required to spend 10 percent of its gross profits on law enforcement. That equates to around $26,000 for the local system.
Marny Hendrick, chairman of the ABC board, said 10 percent of the system’s profits would be around $25,000.
Statewide, around 20 of the 156 ABC systems have their own law enforcement. All others depend on ALE.
Board member Gus Andrews expressed surprise at the many programs and services ALE has to fight underage drinking and train permit holders, in addition to doing inspections, catching violators and dealing with permit applications.
Board member Ken Argo asked Griffin if there would be any problem with doing enforcement for a system with seven stores spread out across several municipalities.
Griffin said it wouldn’t be a problem.
Board members noted that by contracting with ALE, they would avoid possible jurisdiction problems that could occur with the Sheriff’s Office doing enforcement in Cabarrus County.
Under the preliminary discussions, one ALE officer would be working out of the ABC office. Any of the 15 ALE officers in the Charlotte district would be available if needed.
Griffin said the contract would be with the state agency, which would handle paying the officers for the work as overtime.
Board members also liked the idea that the agents will have their own insurance, equipment and vehicles.
“This is turn-key, no cars, no insurance,” said Hendrick.
The board unanimously approved a motion to explore a contract with the state agency. The final costs will likely depend on the exact services the board wants.
Members briefly discussed eliminating some of the current security but made no decision.Last month, the board heard a proposal from the Rowan Sheriff’s Office to provide enforcement. Under that plan, the sheriff would provide a sergeant to work at the ABC office and would provide additional manpower as needed. Officials estimated the cost of the officer’s salary at around $45,000. The ABC board would have to provide a vehicle and other equipment.
The board agreed to turn in a leased Durango used by law enforcement rather than paying $12,000 to buy it. The vehicle has in excess of 100,000 miles on the odometer.
The board also agreed to declare a Snapper riding lawn mower surplus and to sell it by taking sealed bids to be opened at the June 17 meeting of the ABC Board.