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Old June 3, 2009, 04:11 PM   #1
spacemanspiff
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Law Enforcement Officers

Our state has an investigative agency whose sole purpose is to ensure that licensed alcohol serving establishments are following the law. These investigators enter bars, restaurants, and liquor stores to observe doorstaff, bartenders, servers, clerks, etc and whether or not they ask for photo ID, or if they stop already intoxicated persons from entering, or if they cut off those who are intoxicated.
These investigators are well versed in alcohol-laws at both municipal and state levels. The Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) works sting operations to send in underage persons to see if they are stopped at the door, or if no doorstaff is present, if they are served an alcoholic beverage.
If the establishments fail, the person(s) who did not do their job get issued a citation (legally it counts as an arrest, even though they are not placed in handcuffs), and it typically results in a $500 fine to the individual, not the establishment.

Recently, this board of investigators (ABC) voted to arm their investigators.
It is already illegal for an individual in a bar to carry a firearm, unless the person is a LEO. I don't know for certain, but the phrase used by the law might be 'peace officer', so it can encompass a wide variety of agencys. At least, thats what is written in the law as regards whom a person carrying concealed must announce it should they be stopped or detained by an aforementioned 'peace officer'.

I am a bit torn on this matter, on one hand, yes, these investigators are working to enforce the law, and some of them do have prior/present law enforcement experience, but is there really a need for an armed investigator? Some of the investigators wear plain clothes, some wear uniforms.

However on the other hand, these investigators typically go out in the field solo, and mingle with the crowd in bars. Local police almost never do a solo walk through of any bar, they pair up, and do their best to keep away from crowded situations.

Anyone else have any thoughts about this?
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Old June 3, 2009, 04:53 PM   #2
Al Norris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spacemanspiff
I am a bit torn on this matter, on one hand, yes, these investigators are working to enforce the law, and some of them do have prior/present law enforcement experience, but is there really a need for an armed investigator?
It seems it doesn't matter what you think:

AS 04.06.110. Peace Officer Powers.

The director and the persons employed for the administration and enforcement of this title may, with the concurrence of the commissioner of public safety, exercise the powers of peace officers when those powers are specifically granted by the board. Powers granted by the board under this section may be exercised only when necessary for the enforcement of the criminally punishable provisions of this title, regulations of the board, and other criminally punishable laws and regulations, including investigation of violations of laws against prostitution and promoting prostitution described in AS 11.66.100 - 11.66.130 and laws against gambling, promoting gambling, and related offenses described in AS 11.66.200 - 11.66.280.

If the Dir. of Public Safety has given the OK, then those ABC enforcement officeers are in fact, peace officers with full authority as any other law enforcement officer in Alaska.
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Old June 3, 2009, 05:03 PM   #3
Dust Monkey
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They are LEOs. Texas TABC officers are sworn peace officers. It's been that way for decades.
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Old June 3, 2009, 05:16 PM   #4
spacemanspiff
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It seems it doesn't matter what you think:
Okay, thanks for not being condescending in your reply.
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Old June 3, 2009, 08:05 PM   #5
Dex Sinister
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If the Dir. of Public Safety has given the OK, then those ABC enforcement officeers are in fact, peace officers with full authority as any other law enforcement officer in Alaska.
You didn't, however, address his question. The States have been enforcing alcohol laws since the repeal Prohibition (and beyond) and apparently the ABC officers have made it to 2009 without needed to be issued weapons.

So do they actually need to be issued weapons? That was OP's question.

I don't think that we need to fall into the mental trap of thinking that every sworn officer with arrest and citation powers needs to be armed by definition. I'll grant you that there may be more justification for an armed ABC officer than an armed IRS agent.

But the question is a valid one even if part of OP's post suggested that part of his cause for questioning was his lack of knowing whether they were actually officers.
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Old June 3, 2009, 08:14 PM   #6
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Well considering the patrons are likely intoxicated to some degree or other and many are rabidly loyal to their favorite watering hole, I would say these officers need to be able to fend off attack... heck Game Wardens went many decades un armed even though the vast majority of their contacts were with folks armed with high power rifles or shotguns. So I would say I would rather these "law enforcers" could ward off an attack by guys armed with any number of lethal weapons to include broke off long neck bottles...
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Old June 3, 2009, 08:24 PM   #7
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Spiff are ALL of them going to be armed or just some of them?

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Old June 3, 2009, 08:32 PM   #8
spacemanspiff
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I don't know, the minutes of their last meeting didn't go into specifics.
http://www.dps.state.ak.us/ABC/docs/...tes_050709.pdf
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Old June 3, 2009, 09:33 PM   #9
Dust Monkey
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The Texas ABC that I mentioned above does all the duties listed in the first post and have been armed, sworn peace officers for as long as I can remember.
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Old June 3, 2009, 10:02 PM   #10
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Someone really means to tell me it's illegal to carry in an Alaska bar?!



Go Nevada!!!
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Old June 3, 2009, 10:24 PM   #11
MrNiceGuy
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I am a bit torn on this matter, on one hand, yes, these investigators are working to enforce the law
And that's where I disagree. They are there to generate revenue, enforcing selective laws is just a means to their goals.

I've been present for two occasions where an OLCC officer has cut a patron off and told them to walk home, only for the patron to stumble out to their car and swerve off into the wild blue yonder. They exist to serve large fines to establishments. The insignificant counter measures they "enforce" do nothing to overcome the fact that every bar with parking lot is promoting drinking and driving.

As for them being armed, it is most likely to protect them from the bar's owner when they hand over the tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
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Old June 3, 2009, 10:39 PM   #12
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Someone really means to tell me it's illegal to carry in an Alaska bar?!



Go Nevada!!!
Legal in Oregon too.

Here in Washington, we have to stay out of the 21-or-over section, but restaurants serving alcohol is fine. No blood running in the streets.

I dunno. I tend to think that cops should be allowed to carry whatever and wherever good citizens are allowed to carry -- and prohibited from carrying in places where good citizens are prohibited from carrying. After all, if the place is that safe, the cops don't need weapons there anyway. If it's not that safe, the good folks there should be armed too.

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Old June 3, 2009, 10:42 PM   #13
Playboypenguin
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It is already illegal for an individual in a bar to carry a firearm, unless the person is a LEO
Not here in Oregon.
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Old June 4, 2009, 07:41 AM   #14
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I'm pretty sure the ABC people in Alabama have been armed for years. Their job puts them into situations where their lives could be at risk, so why not be armed? Seems to be just as smart as ccw to me.
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Old June 4, 2009, 08:47 AM   #15
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"I tend to think that cops should be allowed to carry whatever and wherever good citizens are allowed to carry -- and prohibited from carrying in places where good citizens are prohibited from carrying."

That doesn't make any sense. Sorry, but it doesn't. According to that logic police officers couldn't carry at the station house or barracks or jail unless the general public was allowed to. Other similar situations come to mind, like courtrooms.

It's a nice throwaway line, but highly impractical. I do love the 'good citizen' thing though. Don't bad citizens have rights too?

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Old June 4, 2009, 08:59 AM   #16
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Not if you look at it as a basis for liberating citizens instead of restricting cops.
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Old June 4, 2009, 09:02 AM   #17
pax
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Jim Watson got it.

As for "bad citizens," those would be the guys in jail or wearing ankle monitors.

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Old June 4, 2009, 12:03 PM   #18
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Someone really means to tell me it's illegal to carry in an Alaska bar?!
It is thank god

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Old June 4, 2009, 12:11 PM   #19
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At my last job we shared our building with a few ABC agents for MS; they were great guys & were armed (one was a Glock "armorer" whatever that really means) and needed to be for the drunken idiots they had to deal with. They also did investigations on bootlegging including illegal distilleries. These guys didn't deploy in squads or anything; they needed their sidearms, imo. I don't recall any stories about them having to actually shoot anyone, thankfully.

I still remember trying to convince one of them to order a pink "hello kitty" flashlight with a blacklight bulb (for checking holographs on IDs).
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Old June 4, 2009, 12:27 PM   #20
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Oddly enough, more people who work in the liquor industry are afraid of the ABC investigators, and are more willing to have APD do walkthroughs. However, what they don't realize is that the ABC investigators actively try to work with barstaff, and would rather not write up a citation if they don't have to.
Local police are more strict about it, and will cuff an employee who violates Title IV laws.

My concern, and reason for posting this thread, is that the ABC investigators do not enter bars with the same mindset that local police do. Police are always watching their back (as are us in security) and never leave themselves exposed. ABC on the other hand are quite 'untactical', for lack of a better phrase.
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Old June 4, 2009, 12:31 PM   #21
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It's a nice throwaway line, but highly impractical.
Exactly. There might be some validity to that if the "good citizens" had the same role and responsibilities of the LEO, but they don't.
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Old June 4, 2009, 07:31 PM   #22
Dust Monkey
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Oh please. Pax got it right. Anyone that can't see that really has no clue as to what civil rights are. Get over thinking you are special. You are just a citizen with a badge. That's it. Not exempt from laws, just like anyone else. And don't throw out criminals are out to get me. Well what did you expect when you applied.

Spiff. The actions of the ABC in Alaska mirror my experiences and observations of Texas ABC.
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Old June 4, 2009, 10:48 PM   #23
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Oh please. Pax got it right. Anyone that can't see that really has no clue as to what civil rights are. Get over thinking you are special. You are just a citizen with a badge. That's it. Not exempt from laws, just like anyone else. And don't throw out criminals are out to get me. Well what did you expect when you applied.
Dust Monkey,tell you what, tell my department I don't have to take police action 24/7 regardless of my duty status and I will agree with you. Until such time please do not opine when you are mistaken in your assertion.

This Police bashing is getting tiresome.

I expected that I would be able to defend myself and do my sworn duty without the peanut gallery worrying about things that don't concern them. Like, whether or not I am armed. Don't commit a crime in my presence EVER and it is a moot point.
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Old June 4, 2009, 10:51 PM   #24
Al Norris
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This one is also done.
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