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Liquor Enforcement Officers Seeking Students to Work Undercover

by on February 28, 2014 5:45 AM

The state police Liquor Control Enforcement Bureau is searching for college students interested in earning criminal justice experience by participating in undercover law enforcement investigations.

Specifically, the district enforcement office based in Altoona is seeking young people between ages 18 and 20 to attempt to buy alcohol at licensed establishments as part of officers' compliance investigations.

This recruiting is not related to State Patty's Day – a day in State College notorious for underage drinking – but is instead an effort to address a general need for underage buyers as part of investigations within an eight-county region.

While the LCE's search for additional underage buyers is not directly connected to State Patty's Day, the LCE will be assisting State College police with alcohol-related enforcement this weekend.

 "The goal of the program is to make sure the liquor establishments comply with the state law by making sure they don't sell alcohol to underage persons, which makes it a little harder for young people to possess it," says District Commander Sgt. Kent Bernier.

Typically, participation, which is unpaid, is beneficial to criminal justice students who hope to work in law enforcement after graduation and are interested in expanding their resumes. However, the LCE says students studying any profession are welcome.

Participants cannot be employed by any establishment licensed to serve alcohol. They must also have clear criminal records.

Officers train participants and accompany them into the establishments where the underage buyer then attempts to purchase the alcohol.

Establishments that sell alcohol to minors can face fines starting at $1,250. The LCE also notifies establishments when their employees have followed the law and did not sell to an undercover minor. Bernier says the congratulatory notices far outweigh the violations.

"The main goal is to let everyone know we are out there doing this and they need to let their employees know they need to card these people," Bernier says.

Anyone interested in participating in the program can call the Altoona district enforcement office at 814-693-6200.

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Jennifer Miller is a reporter for She has worked in journalism since 2005. She's covered news at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on crime and local government.
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