The Sedalia Police Department will host free alcohol server training to area businesses next week in an effort to help educate the local community and combat drunk driving.

The training is a result of an alcohol compliance check conducted by SPD in May as part of the West Central Missouri DWI Task Force, which includes Pettis County and Henry County sheriff’s departments and Cole Camp, Marshall, Sweet Springs and Sedalia police departments. The Task Force was formed due to a roughly $24,000 grant that runs from Oct. 1, 2015, to Sept. 30, 2016, allowing the multi-jurisdictional group to conduct various DWI checkpoints and alcohol compliance checks.

“We had a compliance check first in Henry County and then a Pettis County check May 27. During the check we had some businesses that employees sold to minors,” said SPD Officer Victoria Kottman, of the Traffic Unit. “We cited the employees at that time, we did not cite the businesses because that was the initial check, then we will offer training and then we will do additional checks. Any violations after the training in those checks, those businesses will be sent to Liquor Control to … take appropriate action based on the violation.”

Kottman said Liquor Control is aware of how SPD is pursuing the compliance checks, as they are the ones who put her in contact with SMART Training, provided by the Wellness Resource Center from the University of Missouri in Columbia, which will conduct next week’s training.

“The person doing the SMART training is a former Liquor Control agent so she’s well versed in all the applicable laws and things that go along with serving alcohol to the public,” Kottman added.

Businesses won’t be the only ones attending the training to learn more about alcohol laws — Kottman plans to attend as well.

“I’m going to attend both sessions just so I have an understanding of what businesses are faced with so I have more knowledge when I go,” she said. “So if someone comes to me with a question I can answer it or direct them to someone who knows. Our intent is to be educational, we want the businesses to be doing the right thing to begin with … maybe the businesses need to reevaluate their training and we’re offering them some training.”

According to a SPD news release, on Friday, May 27, members of the Task Force, consisting of members from the Sedalia and Cole Camp police departments and the Pettis County Sheriff’s Office, checked 30 businesses within Pettis County. All but six were found to be in compliance.

According to SPD reports, an underage buyer and two undercover police officers went to Casey’s, 1909 W. Main St., at 9 p.m. The buyer was able to purchase a 25-ounce can of beer without showing identification. Once the buyer left the area, one of the officers made contact with the clerk who sold the alcohol, Hope G. Bartlett, 18, of the 600 block of West Second Street. She was issued a municipal court summons for selling alcohol to a minor.

The trio also went to Casey’s, 3050 S. Limit Ave., at 7:50 p.m. The buyer was able to purchase a 25-ounce can of beer without showing identification. Nic A. Alcorn, 25, of the 1200 block of South Stewart Avenue, was issued a municipal court summons for selling alcohol to a minor.

According to a Pettis County Sheriff’s Office report, the group went to Dukes and Boots, 21715 W. U.S. Highway 50, at 6:32 p.m. During the check, a waitress, Libby S. Lorenz, of Sedalia, served alcohol to two minors. Lorenz was taken into custody and later released with a summons for selling alcohol to a minor.

“For the number of businesses we checked, we had very few violations, so I applaud everyone for stepping up and doing the right thing,” Kottman said. “We have a drinking and driving problem in the State of Missouri and we are just looking at a number of different ways to combat that, try to keep our roads as safe as we can.”

The alcohol server training will take place Wednesday at the Sedalia Fire Department Headquarters. Packaged/seller training will be from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and by the drink/server training will be from noon to 4 p.m.

Space is limited so businesses are asked to call Kottman at 660-221-8841 to reserve a spot.

-via Sedalia Democrat