The Mississippi Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Bureau of Enforcement won the 2008 Innovative Law Enforcement Program of the Year Award for its Fake Identification Education and Law Enforcement Training Program awarded by the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association (NLLEA). Chief of Enforcement, Mark Hicks, received the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year awarded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the United States Department of Justice. Both awards were presented August 22 in Nashville, Tennessee at the joint annual conference of the NLLEA and the OJJDP.
Chief Hicks is responsible for the leadership of the enforcement efforts of Mississippi's Prohibition and Local Option Laws in the regulation of the lawful sale of alcoholic beverages, certain laws relating to beer, and the permitting and regulation of licensed businesses. Hicks often makes presentations to school children to educate them on the dangers of underage drinking. He and his team work with community colleges, colleges and universities to help educate students and stem the tide of underage drinking. Hicks has initiated several programs to fight underage drinking, including “Football 05-06,” “Operation CAMP,” “Rural 2007” and “We Don’t Serve Teens” (in conjunction with the Century Council.)
The intent of Fake ID program is to deter the purchase of alcohol by underage persons using fraudulent identification. Utilizing a grant from the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA), ABC Enforcement produced a DVD for law enforcement with an accompanying checklist that teaches law enforcement officers how to spot fake identification. In addition to providing the DVD’s to local law enforcement, agents have given instruction about fake ID’s to several law enforcement agencies around the state.
Additionally 10,000 brochures and posters were delivered to schools and colleges around the state. “Recognizing almost 25% of the underage persons we have contact with are using fake identification, we determined it necessary to increase educational efforts for other law enforcement agencies and for the teens in our state,” said Chief Hicks. The brochure, titled “Don’t Borrow Trouble” warns teens about the dangers of using fake identification. “A criminal record is bad enough, but having medical attention delayed because you were using another person’s identification could lead to big problems if law enforcement or medical professionals don’t know your true identity,” said Hicks.
“There are three types of fake ID’s: imposters, altered identification, and fakes. An imposter is someone that uses another person’s identification. Altered identification cards are government issued cards that have been altered. Usually the date of birth is changed to make the person appear older. Fakes are counterfeit identification cards that look official and may resemble government issued cards. Minors convicted of using another individual’s driver’s license, altering their own driver’s license, or reproducing a fake can be fined up to $500.00 and serve thirty days in jail. Also, a person over 21 years of age who is in the business of supplying fake driver’s licenses to minors can be convicted of a felony and face up to $5,000 in fines and three years in jail.”
During 2007, ninety-nine (99) minors were arrested for possession of false identification by the ABC.
This is ABC Enforcement’s second national award. In 2006, the Mississippi ABC was recognized as the Agency of the Year by the NLLEA for their work as first responders and assistance provided to Gulf Coast law enforcement agencies following Hurricane Katrina.