Green Bay Police Department once again conducting proactive alcohol compliance checks

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- After a six year hiatus, the Green Bay Police Department is back conducting proactive liquor license compliance checks throughout the city.

During that span, police continued complaint-based checks, but recent numbers have one Green Bay Council Member hoping the proactive approach continues.

As of Wednesday, there are 253 liquor licenses in the City of Green Bay

“Now that includes places like a restaurant, tavern and also places that sell it where you can carry it out, like a convenience store,” said Captain Todd LePine, Green Bay Police Department.

Green Bay Police’s most recent proactive alcohol compliance check, completed weeks ago, resulted in a 26.9 percent failure rate. Of 115 establishments, 31 of them failed, meaning they sold alcohol to underage people.

“I don't think a lot of those were malicious in nature at all,” said Captain LePine. “I think some of them were oversights, but unfortunately we have to enforce the law.”

The previous compliance check, conducted this past spring at about 150 establishments, saw a lower failure rate of 17 percent, but Captain LePine said there may be a reason for that.

“When we initially did these compliance checks, we actually sent a letter to the businesses that sell alcohol telling them they have a big responsibility,” said Captain LePine. “We told them in the next couple of months we are going to be doing some compliance checks.”

To see the bigger picture, Action 2 News decided to look at proactive compliance checks from previous years, but we had to go all the way back to 2010, where the failure rate was about 31 percent. According to Captain LePine, the failure rate was 21.7 percent in 2009 and 38.9 percent in 2008.

“We don't have very many records between 2011- 2016 because I think we took a hiatus,” said Captain LePine.

Green Bay City Council Member Bill Galvin was on the police force a t the time and explains why there was a break in proactive compliance checks.

“They became complaint based only, so if we had complaints or something, we would check out the individual business,” said Galvin. “We were redirecting our forces at that time in other areas, so it kind of fell by the wayside.”

Galvin said with the recent numbers, he hopes proactive compliance checks continue next year.

“I understand it takes a lot of time for officers to do it and there's probably a lot of other things they'd rather be doing but it is something that is necessary,” said Galvin. “We are not looking to be heavy handed or anything else like that, we just want people to follow the law. If they follow the law, it’s going to make life a lot better for everyone in our community.”

Serving alcohol to a person underage carries with it a $502 fine and they must appear in municipal court.

Action 2 News did put in a request at the police department to find out which establishments failed the most recent proactive compliance checks. We should be getting those results in the next few days.