Charleston expected to roll out pilot program to crack down on underage drinking, fake IDs on King Street
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston City Council could soon approve a new pilot program that would look to combat fake IDs and underage drinking on King Street.
The city and Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau would contribute $20,000 each for a six-month program with Intellicheck for all 31 late night establishments serving alcohol on King Street.
Councilmember Mike Seekings said participation in the program is voluntary and the goal is to make the city safer.
“Well, it’s no secret that the central part of the business district, in particular, upper King Street, we’ve had some challenges up there,” Seekings said. “There are a lot of them. This isn’t the only one, but underage drinking is one where we feel it’s preventable, and we can deal with it in a pretty easy way, and this just came up.”
He believes the program will be successful because he says fake IDs have become harder to spot for local businesses.
“Our mind’s eye shows it, and our police reports show it that there’s a number of underage people in the King Street corridor late at night,” Seekings said. “That leads to other problems, but one of them is people trying to get into bars, so we know it’s a problem.”
El Jefe Texican Cantina owner Roy Neal, who brought the idea to the council, said he has been using Intellicheck for the past few months.
“Since we’ve started using the scanner technology, we’ve actually seen a decrease in the underage,” Neal said. “I mean, people know we’re using the scanner technology.”
He said it has eased his anxiety when it comes to checking to see if IDs are real or not.
“Turn it over, hit the barcode, and it tells you alert,” Neal said while demonstrating the software. “The day of looking at an ID and seeing that the dates are right and it’s them, well, that’s over. The fake IDs that they’re using out there, it’s really tough to determine.”
Seekings said if the program is approved at Tuesday’s council meeting, the program would start in mid-December and run until the middle of May.
“You don’t want to be that business that’s selling to underage people, but you don’t want to sell underage,” Neal said. “You don’t want to sell to people who are intoxicated. You want to make sure you have your liquor license and following all the rules.”
Following the six-month program, the businesses can negotiate separate deals with Intellicheck, but the city would not cover the cost for them.
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