County deserves credit for combating fake IDs [Editorial]

Using fake ID to buy alcohol is not cute. It is not teenage hi jinks — something to be winked at. It is document forgery to enable the purchase of a potentially lethal intoxicant.

That's why we applaud the Baltimore County Liquor Board and Department of Health for taking the issue seriously enough to host a recent seminar for alcohol retailers — bar and liquor store owners — on how to spot forged identification, chiefly driver's licenses.

The message: We want to help you do your job so we don't have to use enforcement. That's a wise approach.

The session brought together 200 representatives from 109 businesses to watch a presentation by Marty Johnson, a former Howard County liquor inspector who works for Louisiana State University's Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education.

As expected, the session focused on underage drinking and how those in alcohol sales can avoid serving to minors, a violation that can put a liquor license at risk. The group was told that each year about 25 bars across the county are brought before the Liquor Board, accused of serving minors.

Johnson focused on the different types of fake identification cards, a guide to spotting false identification and a primer on facial identification. His fundamental message was that a keen eye and solid judgment on the part of an employee is the best way to block underage alcohol sales.

Those who attended called the session informative, noting that the quality of counterfeit IDs is going up, probably because of technology advances in printing and computing.

Citizens — drinkers and non-drinkers alike — should support efforts that safeguard responsible use of alcohol. To those retailers who cynically turn a blind eye to fake IDs to turn a quick buck, you risk not only your license, but the lives of others. You should be put out of business.

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