Krista Corner Havre Daily News email@example.com
Local law enforcement and Havre businesses are teaming up to ensure the community enjoys a safe start to the New Year. In addition to providing training to a number of Havre’s bartenders, Havre police will be out in full force performing safety spot checks, beginning tonight and continuing through the first of the year. The Hill County Safe Communities Coalition, the Havre Police Department and the HELP Committee together conducted the Montana Department of Revenue’s “Let’s Control It,” on Dec. 18. The training program is designed to teach employees working for a businesses with a liquor license responsible sale and service of alcohol. Havre businesses that participated in the training included Hi-Line Lanes, PJ’s Restaurant and Casino, Town Pump, Lucky Lil’s Casino, Magic Diamond Casino and Montana Lil’s Casino. In addition to the training, which hopefully prevents over-serving of alcohol to patrons, Havre police officers may systematically and randomly pull drivers over and performing safety checks. “We will probably set up a check point somewhere and maybe check every (vehicle), every other or every third vehicle, depending on what’s happening,” said Sgt. Gabe Matosich. “There will also be some extra officers working only traffic.” Lucky Lil’s Manager Jeff Nelson said while he and his staff learned a lot from the alcohol-server training they attended, he will also be encouraging safe means of getting home to his customers and his staff. “I do encourage my (customers) to utilize the free ride,” he said. He added that his employees practice methods of controlling over-drinking every day of the year, not just on New Year’s. “We practice on a daily basis as far as not over-serving,” he said. “Overserving that depends on the particular person. You have to look for the signs, like how are they handling it and did they have too much already when they came in. There is no set time limit, you just learn.” Nelson said his staff is trained to aid in the safety of their customers. “We encourage them to have snacks if they have alcohol because that can slow the process,” he said. “We’ll even pay for a taxi if need be.” Nelson and his staff are not discouraging customers from having a good time, however. “We like everybody to have a good time, just not too good of a time,” he said with a laugh. Coal i t ion Coordinator LuAnn McLain said the Dec. 18 training taught servers about laws in Montana for liability and serving limits and how to spot an underage drinker. “In Montana it is against the law to serve or sell alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person,” McLain said. “What (servers) are trained to do isn’t really limit (beverages). They justNeed to watch people and if they are beginning to become intoxicated, (the servers) will try to slow down service.” McLain said private party hosts are also responsible to ensure their guests arrive home safely. “A business or home owner or someone who hosts a party could be held responsible if someone leaves after consuming alcohol and gets behind the wheel (of a car),” she said. If the guest was involved in a crash that caused bodily injury or property damage, the host could be held responsible for damages, McLain said. Underage drinking is another problem that can sometimes be easily spotted if the server knows the signs to look for McLain added. “An underage person may or may not look mature,” she said. “They’ll act nervous or not give you eye contact. They may linger for a while before making a purchase and they may hang around outside the store talking to older people. Or, someone could come in and purchase two different things with separate monies.” M a t o s i c h , N e l s o n a n d McLain all said New Year’s celebrators needed to keep in mind the free ride home program sponsored by Havre Ford and Chinook Wireless. Both Matosich and McLain said the program’s drivers will come and pick a person up at their home and then give them a ride home later. That way, they added, the person’s car doesn’t even have to leave their driveway. To utilize the free program call 265-1700. The program begins at 6 p.m. Monday.