The Mississippi Alcohol Beverage Control Enforcement was recently named the 2006 Liquor Law Enforcement Agency of the Year by the National Liquor Law Enforcement Agency (NLLEA).
The NLLEA is an association of law enforcement personnel dedicated to the enforcement of liquor laws and regulations. 44 states and 4 Canadian provinces hold membership in this organization.
ABC Enforcement was selected for their support of local law enforcement agencies during Hurricane Katrina and for on-going projects aimed at enhancing public safety in Mississippi.
ABC agents are designated first responders and were pre-positioned at Camp Shelby prior to Katrina’s landfall. ABC agents went into the disaster area as soon as possible after the storm to assist local law enforcement agencies. They apprehended numerous looters during the first five days, arresting approximately 50 persons and recovering several thousand dollars worth of stolen goods. Agents assisted in clearing several neighborhoods, mostly the hardest hit areas of Pearlington, Waveland, and Bay St. Louis. Agents distributed food, ice, and water to the victims. On September 2, when they went to Pearlington, they were the first relief workers these people had seen.
In the weeks following, ABC agents worked the Missing Persons Task Force with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation along with other law enforcement agencies investigating leads involving missing persons. They assisted in locating and apprehending numerous misplaced sex offenders.
ABC Enforcement, even with the extra hours spent working on the Gulf Coast, had a productive year. ABC Enforcement received a federal grant for the enforcement of underage drinking laws during Fiscal Year 2006. This project dealt with increased enforcement in our college towns with a special emphasis on home football game weekends. As a result of the grant, 607 arrests were made for offenses dealing with minors and alcohol. For this, ABC Enforcement was recognized for a grant project “Success Story” at the National Leadership Conference for the Enforcement of Underage Drinking laws. This conference was held in conjunction with this years NLLEA conference so the Mississippi ABC came home with two awards. NLLEA President Linda Ignowski congratulated ABC Enforcement and commended them on their “dedication to excellence in alcohol law enforcement.”
Along with issues dealing with minors and alcohol, our other biggest public safety concern and challenge is moonshine. Agents of the Mississippi ABC seized and destroyed a total of twelve moonshine stills during the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2006. Moonshine is made under extremely unsanitary conditions and lead poisoning is possible to those who consume this illegal product. In addition to the public health concern, the State loses thousands of dollars in liquor taxes for even a small operation over a year’s time. The total tax fraud for the stills destroyed this past fiscal year could have reached approximately $2 million.