Law Officers' Views On Enforcement Of The Minimum Drinking Age: A Four-State Study
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Law Officers' Views On Enforcement Of The Minimum Drinking Age: A Four-State Study

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  • Alternative Title:
    Public Health Rep
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    Qualitative data on enforcement of the minimum drinking age in the U.S. were obtained through in depth interviews with law enforcement officers in May and June 1992. Interviews were conducted with 37 supervisory and line law enforcement personnel in 15 city and county law enforcement agencies in four States. The selected agencies had varying levels of enforcement as measured by arrest rates. Interviews focused on the social and political context of enforcement of the drinking age, constraints to enforcement, and officers' recommendations for improving enforcement efforts. Officers generally perceive an acceptance of youth drinking by many segments of their communities, and they do not receive significant encouragement from community members to increase enforcement efforts. Political factors are thought to play some role in determining enforcement levels, especially in sheriffs' departments. Reported constraints on enforcement of the minimum drinking age include resource limitations, a number of practical problems, perceptions that punishments are inadequate, time and effort required for processing and paperwork, and the low status accorded enforcement of the minimum drinking age. Officers report facing a number of evidentiary and procedural challenges. Officers suggested a number of ways in which enforcement of the minimum drinking age could be improved.
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