The Missouri legislature has cut over $1 million from its Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, leaving just five agents to monitor 12,000 liquor licenses, the Associated Press reported June 14.
The burden will now be on local law enforcement to bridge the regulatory gap — checking licenses and monitoring the sale of alcohol to minors — a task police officials say stresses an already overextended police force. In Kansas City, for instance, Sgt. Brad Dumit said just four vice detectives, who already cover prostitution, human trafficking, and illegal gambling, will now have to add liquor law enforcement to their responsibilities.
“Everyone knows we don't have the funds to continue the way we were before,” said Sen. Kurt Schaefer, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “We can only enforce what we can afford to enforce.”
Federal funding for compliance checks on sales to minors will be reallocated from the state to police and sheriff's departments.