Every store the St. Johns County enforcement team visited that day displayed a sign: We ID. Responsibility Matters.
Authorities say the responsibility doesn't end with whoever pulls the alcohol out of the cooler or off the shelf. It also goes to whoever behind the counter.
Before the evening we over, Channel 4 saw two more businesses sell to the 17-year-old. While four of 14 stores visited sold alcohol without asking for ID, that mean 10 followed the law.
It was a painful and embarrassing process for the clerks who sold the alcohol.
"You don't want to see anybody lose their job this day and age, but we're hoping we can get some education out of it," Strausbaugh said.
He appreciates the efforts of his teenage volunteer.
"She wanted to be part of the solution, so kudos to her," Strausbaugh said. "I'm glad we have children out there that want to step up and take a positive option -- try to make a difference.'
Following this "alcohol compliance detail in December," the Sheriff's Office ran another operation in January. During that sting, three of of 16 stores visited sold to a different teenage undercover volunteer.
So why is this important?
In 2009 across the United States, 123 homicides, more than 81,000 non-fatal violent crimes like rape and robbery, and nearly 140,000 property crimes like burglary and car theft attributed to underage drinking.
How does a concerned citizen get involved?
The state needs you to report any underage sales that you observe. There's even an anonymous reporting telephone line:
Teens and adults can become part of the Prevention Coalition of St. Johns County. Clay, Duval and Nassau counties all have an organization similar to PACT that want teens and parents to get involved and make a difference in their neighborhoods.
- St. Johns County: pactprevention.org
- Nassau County: nacdac.org
- Clay County: clayactioncoalition.org
- Duval County: shdcfl.org
Other links of interest: