Agency, bars prepare to fight fake IDs

White posters are going up all over Lawrence businesses this week that warn minors about the consequences of using fake IDs to try to get into bars.

“It’s illegal, it’s unhealthy and it’s unsafe for you, and this is one of the campaigns to let them know that if they go out and get a fake ID to enter a bar, that they’ll get in trouble,” said Jen Brinkerhoff, director of prevention for DCCCA.

The DCCCA is a Lawrence agency that provides education, prevention and treatment services for residents and families suffering from alcohol addiction.

For the second semester in a row, DCCCA is leading a campaign to keep minors out of area bars. “Fake ID 101” was initiated earlier this year with the help of several area agencies, including The New Tradition Coalition of Lawrence, The Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office, Alcoholic Beverage Control, KU Public Safety Office, Lawrence police and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department.

A $25,000 grant funds education and enforcement efforts that are designed to curb the use of fake IDs. Hundreds of posters are being distributed in Lawrence and surrounding communities. The posters detail what a fake ID is and the consequences of using one: a $2,500 fine and/or up to one year in jail.

In the spring, the posters were primarily put up in restaurants and bars, but now they’re also going in churches, grocery stores, theaters and more.

“Anywhere that this age group — under 21 — might be going to see this message,” Brinkerhoff said.

The campaign provides funds for additional law enforcement efforts as well. In February, Lawrence police used grant funds to conduct four separate fake ID sting operations at 94 drinking establishments. The effort yielded 37 citations for 48 violations, according to Brinkerhoff.

The Wheel owner Rob Farha said he appreciates the campaign.

“As much education as possible is great,” he said.

Farha said allowing underage customers isn’t good business.

“A liquor license is a privilege; they (ABC) don’t have to give us one, so these kids got to understand the first line of defense is right at the front door,” Farha said.

Employees at The Wheel will get a refresher course this week on spotting fake IDs. Farha said they’ll learn to check birthdays and expiration dates, while also closely looking at eye color, hair color and more. He said it’s not always easy spotting the fakes.

“We do our best; technology is unbelievable out there, but we do the best we can do,” he said.

Brinkerhoff said an important part of Fake ID 101 is educating minors so they won’t even approach establishments where they’re not allowed, easing the burden on workers checking IDs.

“We want to educate students, especially when they’re coming in as freshmen, and say, ‘hey, we are a college town and we have a lot of great things, but we do not tolerate underage drinking,’” Brinkerhoff said.

A free informational meeting will be held for those who work in businesses that have an alcohol license. ABC, Lawrence police and DCCCA will host the meeting to educate workers on laws that involve alcohol sales. It will take place at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H., from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 29.

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