High Number of Businesses Fail Compliance Check

By Addison Speck, Reporter

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By James Steward

MARION, Iowa - Police say alarming numbers of businesses served alcohol to minors after a routine check in Marion.

Twice a year, police send people under age into businesses asking for alcohol. On June 30, police hit 21 Marion businesses. Ten of those businesses had served alcohol to a minor. Police say the high numbers surprised them.

Craig Campbell is the co-owner of Campbell Steele Gallery. He thought he was doing everything right on June 30 by asking a young woman to see her I.D.

“I look right at the license, I look right at the calendar and it all seemed to make sense to me so I gave her a Guinness,” Campbell said.

He didn’t realize he made a mistake. Moments later a police officer entered his gallery and handed him a ticket.

“It cost a fortune, that is a very expensive fine - $735,” Campbell said.

Police say it’s an expensive price to pay. The Marion Police Department say they usually only have a few failed checks a year. Sgt. Brian Heinricy said on June 30, they had ten all in the same night.

“That’s higher then we’ve seen here in the past,” Heinricy said.

Hunters Ridge Golf Course, Indian Creek Country Club and Campbell Steele Gallery are just a few businesses that failed. These unusual spots could be the reason for unusually high numbers.

“A lot of them don’t sell a high volume of alcohol compared to others, therefore they haven’t been checked for awhile,” Heinricy said.

After these results, police say they are considering checking all businesses who do serve and sell alcohol on a more frequent basis. This has business owners listening, like Campbell, who says he will check I.D.’s more seriously. He tells KCRG that he already has a new plan in place.

The Marion Police Department also offers free classes to local business owners on how to check I.D.’s more effectively. These numbers also place a new emphasis on the fact that people of age should be the only ones purchasing alcohol.

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