Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Police sting was sleazy tactic

The Oxford English Dictionary definition of entrapment: to trick or deceive someone, especially by inducing them to commit a crime in order to secure their prosecution.

Last Saturday night, the Sheriff's Office gave seven out of 22 restaurants and bars citations for serving a minor. I was told they are using a motivated underage person, possibly a youth put up to this task in promise of having a past arrest pardoned. Seasoned bartenders and even bar managers said that without a doubt, this patron looked well over 30 years old. In my opinion, their "sting" methods resemble entrapment, trickery and confusion tactics.

On one premises, the minor, posing as an adult, left the bar after being served. He was followed by the bartender, who then witnessed the minor walk across the street and give two men a "high five," as if they had just scored a point in some sick game. I assume these two men were the attending officers. When issuing citations, police officers appeared at some of these establishments at 11 p.m., an extremely inconvenient time for most drinking establishments, interrupting the flow of business.

My feeling is that our law enforcement should focus more of their energy on public service to local residents and business: keeping drunk drivers off our roads, stopping domestic abuse, arresting murderers and closing meth labs.

Furthermore, maybe the local bars and bartenders should be honored for the expense and diligence they continuously put forward to keep minors out of their establishments. Having doormen on your payroll automatically increases insurance costs. Bar owners consistently employ countless doormen, confiscate false identification or call police dispatch if there is an identification in question. They even instill a type of "phone tree" by calling other bars when known minors are trying to sneak by their own safe guards.

Trickery and monetary fines put forth by police authorities are doing nothing to support these businesses—businesses that are fueling our resort economy, trying only to draw tourists to our town in desperate times.

Paige Griffith


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