NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW)- The Alcohol Enforcement Team is part of the City of North Myrtle Beach Police Department.
This year, the team is back, meaning officers are on hand to make arrests when necessary, and graduation visitation is extended over a three-week period. During this time last year, the team wasn’t out due to staffing and manpower issues.
So far this month, officers have made 43 arrests as opposed to 7 during this same time last year.
“Regardless of the effect it may or may not have, I think, just getting that message shows a very proactive approach on our part as a city and as a department to educate people who are underage. Even adults, on the pitfalls of drinking and drinking too much,” Police Chief J. Phillip Webster said.
The goal of the unit is to not only address alcohol issues but work with businesses that sell alcohol so they know what things to look for.
“I always ask them to take it out of their wallet so I can see because if it falls a part I know it isn’t any good. and also I want to make sure the date is on their and has been sealed so it’s not open like maybe they tried to change the date on it.” Seymour Port, Pavilion Discount Beverages General Manager said.
Port says he’s learned some of the tricks underage college students will try to illegally obtain alcohol.
“Sometimes if you ask for an i.d they come and say oh you know me, I’ve been here before and I say that’s fine. I may have seen you before but I need to see your i.d. again because we see lots of people in here. That’s one of the main ones,” Port added.
The unit targets underage drinking, house parties serving that crowd and alcohol-related issues like open containers and disorderly conduct. Officers say the goal is not to arrest people, though.
“Sometimes they may see someone with an open container and it depends on the actual situation and how the approach is. They may give that person a warning and say hey that’s unlawful, please pour that out,” Webster said.
Webster added college students are staying longer even beyond the graduation season but they’re already seeing the impact of Alcohol Enforcement Team returning this year.