Since 2007, Town Clerk Rhonda Coxon and Police Sergeant Brian Olson have provided TIPS training
(training for intervention procedures) to improve the relationship with local bars and restaurants and give them the resources they need to responsibly serve alcohol. The course and resulting certification (after passing a test) gives individuals the knowledge and confidence they need to recognize potential alcohol-related problems and intervene to prevent alcohol-related tragedies.
“In a small community like this, an alcohol-related accident that took an innocent person would take us a long time to get past,” Olson said. “So far we’ve been lucky and that’s partly due to the good partnership with local bars and restaurants.”
Individuals attending the training represented several local restaurants, and work at local events such as Thursday Night Concerts.
Providing good and consistent service can be a challenge in an atmosphere where servers are encouraging responsible drinking, and potentially intervening in situations to maintain public safety. Fortunately state and local laws have been established to regulate how individuals are served. It’s these laws that provide the foundation for the TIPS course.
Course attendees learned about behavioral cues that signal a person may be becoming intoxicated (impairment of gross and fine motor skills for example), intoxication rate factors, and the laws that apply to servers of alcohol which require them to make a reasonable effort to prevent intoxication in guests they’re serving.
In addition, intervention measures (in case a guest does become visibly intoxicated) were provided so trainees can pay a critical role in preventing conflicts while also promoting safety and service. Suggested tactics included everything from preventing service to underage individuals (knowing what to ask for and look for in identification), to cutting-off a guest who drinks too much and involving friends to get an individual home safely.
Sergeant Olson pointed out the numerous local free transportation resources available to bar patrols—from the Snowmass Village Shuttle to Tipsy Taxi.
“Being polite, communicative, and proactive are useful qualities to diffuse an argument with an intoxicated customer if you’re trying to get them home,” Olson said. “Coincidentally, these are the same tactics that relate to good customer service.”
He added that liquor enforcement won’t care how ‘rough’ servers have had it on any given night if they are caught violating the law.
“We’ve been on the state’s radar,” Olson said. “Just remember. You’re professionals with a job to do.”
If you or a representative of your business is interested in attending future TIPS training courses, contact Rhonda Coxon
, Town Clerk at 970-922-2271.