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  ILCC Industry Education Division



State eyes expansion of alcohol training program

DATE: May 25, 2010
CONTACT: Ted Penesis (

ROCKFORD—With summer’s symbolic opening set for this holiday weekend, Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC) administrators met today with northern Illinois officials at Rockford’s Clock Tower Resort to present strategies for reducing drunk driving and underage drinking.

“We are pleased the leaders of Winnebago County take the problem of illegal alcohol use seriously,” said ILCC Chief Legal Counsel Rick Haymaker. “Responsible service of alcoholic beverages, promoted by server training, is a positive step toward reducing tragedies associated with over-consumption and underage drinking.”

Among those in attendance were mayors, police chiefs, sheriffs, county board chairmen, state’s attorneys, and various other municipal officials from throughout northern Illinois. “Memorial Day is a time to remember those who have served our country, not mourn the loss of a loved one killed in a drunk-driving crash,” says Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey. “As we gather with family and friends this weekend, please remember to drink responsibly, and ensure that all adult beverages are out of the reach of children.”

A major topic of discussion during today’s summit was how Beverage Alcohol Seller/Server Education and Training (BASSET) makes good business sense for a community’s merchants. Approximately one hundred local government jurisdictions in Illinois have mandated alcohol training, and today’s forum was designed to assist northern Illinois communities in developing their own BASSET ordinance.

Also sharing ideas on how to prevent alcohol-related tragedies were administrators from other state agencies, local officials in communities with mandatory training, and representatives from the liquor industry (click on for the complete list of speakers).

“Responsible consumption is not just a catch-phrase,” says Paul Jenkins, executive director of the Wine and Spirits Distributors of Illinois. “We are all responsible, from the liquor suppliers all the way down to the clerk at the checkout aisle. That is why I support alcohol training.”

One of the featured speakers during the meeting was the City of Rockford’s Christopher Greenwood. A community health and prevention professional, he was one of the key players in pushing for mandatory training in both Roscoe and Rockford, and is currently working with other communities in the greater Rockford area as well.

“We’re all in this together, and liquor licensees must be a partner in this effort,” notes Greenwood. “Similar to the rest of the state, many area establishments – including several corporate chains – already provide alcohol training to their employees. I look at mandated training as a way of leveling the playing field for all licensed establishments.”

Opening the meeting was Winnebago County Chairman Scott Christiansen. “We are strongly considering requiring mandatory training for unincorporated Winnebago County,” says Chairman Christiansen. “With our health department professionals and sheriff’s deputies already serving in alcohol prevention and enforcement roles, it only makes sense to take the next step and become trainers.”

Hosted by the ILCC’s Industry Education Division, this was the sixth in a series of regional informational meetings for Illinois' local officials. The next regional summit will be held June 17, 2010 in Danville for eastern Illinois communities.

To learn more about BASSET and the ILCC's other educational programs — plus order FREE materials for your business — please click on Industry Education Division link.

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