Thursday, August 15, 2013

Results of Local Compliance Checks by Polk County Sheriff’s Office

The StandUP Polk Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office would like to share the results of recent Compliance Checks of retail stores in the Auburndale, Bartow, north and south Lakeland, Mulberry, Polk City, and Winter Haven areas, held on July 30, August 1, and August 2, 2013.

Compliance checks are conducted periodically throughout our community by Polk County Sheriff’s Office School Resource deputies, assisted by high school student volunteers who serve as Polk County Sheriff’s Office Explorers. We would like to pass along our thanks and appreciation to the Deputies and Explorers for their efforts in conducting “Operation Pop Top”, and highlight the many retail stores in our area who are following the law by not selling to minors, and who consistently check for proper identification to verify legal age!

On July 30, 2013, 14 of the 15 businesses checked in the Auburndale, Winter Haven, and Polk City areas were found in compliance of the Florida State Statutes prohibiting the sale of tobacco and alcohol to minors.

Two days later, PCSO Deputies and Explorers conducted another check of stores in the
 South Lakeland, Mulberry, and Bartow areas of the county. Of the 15 establishments visited, 14 were in compliance of the law.

A third Operation Pop Top was conducted on August 2, 2013 of 15 stores in north and south Lakeland. Only one of the 15 stores visited were found in noncompliance.

Of the 45 retail establishments checked in this recent operation, only 3 were NOT in compliance, and the clerks on duty at those stores were charged with Sale of an Alcoholic Beverage to a person under age 21, and booked into the Polk County Jail.   

The StandUP Polk Coalition and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office are committed to working together to educate the local community and business owners.

Angie Ellison, executive director of InnerAct Alliance and fiscal agent for StandUP Polk Coalition, said, “We appreciate the majority of retail outlets that are doing their part to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors, and we are encouraged by recent research that shows 75% of Polk County Students in 6th through 12th Grades choose not to drink alcohol!”

Sheriff Grady Judd had this to say about the initiative, “I commend the businesses and conscientious store clerks for complying with the law. For those who do not comply, make no mistake, we will arrest you for selling alcohol and tobacco
to minors.”

StandUP Polk, the Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk, is a group of concerned citizens, law enforcement, community and business leaders working together to take a stand against drugs and bring about positive change for Polk County. For more information, please contact StandUP Polk at (863) 802-0777.