Minnesota Police Leadership Group Returns to NBWA to Learn About Advocacy
A group of graduate students who are police officers and managers in the Police Leadership Program at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, and their director, William Carter, returned to the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) to learn about the role business associations play in shaping public policy and how it relates to the police officers’ work.
Following an informative and successful meeting in August 2011, the director of the group reached out to NBWA for a return visit.
The students were on a week-long visit to Washington, D.C., to meet with legislators, lobbyists, law enforcement and other policy agencies as part of their program in police leadership.
NBWA hosted the group of 15 student officers at NBWA headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, where Executive Vice President Mike Johnson spoke with the group about current issues facing the beer industry and the group’s importance in the role of regulation of alcohol in communities.
Johnson thanked the officers for their public service and discussed the important role that they play in their community’s efforts to prevent underage access to alcohol. He shared NBWA’s strong support for local regulation and concern for the challenges facing law enforcement in today’s market, citing a recently released study on alcohol sales to minors via the internet. Johnson referenced the study and discussed the important questions that it produced – such as how can law enforcement maintain local control over sales as alcohol becomes widely available through often unregulated ecommerce? The study compared age verification procedures used through ecommerce to that of compliance checks and enforcement in retail sales. The students mentioned their experiences in providing support in retail outlets through ID and compliance checks at local retailers and restaurant/bar establishments.
“Sometimes it’s hard to grasp the national picture with government relations and public policy issues. However, in this year’s visit, the police officers learned that alcohol issues are really local issues,” said William Carter, the group’s director. “Beer distributors in every corner of the country sell products to establishments that are serving local members of the community…the same members of the community the police are serving. This was reinforced with the invitation for the officers to visit, meet and see the local distributors at their business and get to know them.”