Special to SEGAZINE
The Crime Impact Unit of the Port Wentworth Police Department conducted an undercover operation on Friday to target the sale of alcoholic beverages to minors.“The department received several complaints about businesses selling alcohol to underage customers. We turned the complaints over to our Crime Impact Unit and they developed an operation to combat the problem” said Director of Public Safety Matthew Libby.The plan called for an undercover police officer, who was only 20 years old, to be sent into the establishments within Port Wentworth that sell alcohol. The officer would then attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage. If the sale was denied, the officer would leave the business and not return. If the officer was able to purchase an alcoholic beverage, the person who sold the officer the beverage would be arrested and charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor.Sgt. Jimmy Hollingsworth, the Crime Impact Unit Commander, stated: “Our main goal with this operation was to gain compliance. If the clerk did the right thing and asked our undercover officer for ID, they did not even know they were part of the operation. Going in to this operation we felt that most of our businesses would be in compliance with the law.”Of the 21 businesses in the city of Port Wentworth that are licensed to sell alcoholic beverages, the undercover officer was able to visit 17 of them. In 10 of the businesses the officer was able to successfully purchase alcohol without ID.Due to the unexpected number of arrests yielded by the operation, the undercover officer was unable to make it to four of the businesses before they closed. Those businesses will be visited by undercover officers in the near future.The businesses that were in compliance will receive a letter advising them of the operation and that the underage officer was unable to purchase from them.