Teaching Forsyth County businesses to comply with liquor laws

Former deputy launches compliance venture



CUMMING, Ga. – Violation of Forsyth County’s alcohol ordinances, whether intentional or not, can result in hefty fines, suspensions or even the loss of a permit to sell beer, wine or spirits.

Operation 21, a Cumming-based alcohol compliance company, can help business owners avoid that hassle and expense.

The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously April 23 to add Operation 21 to the list of recognized training providers for the alcohol ordinance.

The company is owned by former Forsyth County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian DeBlois, who has more than 15 years of experience as a law enforcement officer.

In a letter to the board asking that his company be recognized, DeBlois wrote, “The program is intended to educate and bring awareness to an employer, employee or licensee before any violations have occurred, or after, if so ordered.”

It is entirely possible for a business owner to break the law unknowingly, but still have to face the consequences. In Forsyth County, and elsewhere, more than one owner has been fined as a result of an employee either failing to check identification or knowingly selling alcohol to an underage patron.

The training provided by Operation 21 can help avoid that costly situation.

DeBlois says his company takes a proactive approach that teaches not only the law, but also the consequences if a violation occurs so a business owner can make a more informed decision prior to any violation.

Of course, not all violators break the law unknowingly. Those who have been convicted of driving under the influence, for example, may be ordered by a judge, prosecutor or probation officer to undergo alcohol awareness training. But a company first must be recognized by Forsyth County in order for violators to be assigned to them, which is why the vote was so important.

“In today’s society, education is the key to success when it comes to saving lives,” DeBlois said. “Operation 21 teaches the liability and responsibility each citizen has when he or she makes a bad choice. Alcohol and drugs don’t discriminate against anyone. They are related to more deaths in the nation than any other origin.”

DeBlois said he brings in a surviving victim of a drunk driver to demonstrate the devastating impact that accidents can have on a person’s life.

Classes are typically held on Saturdays at the Forsyth County campus of Lanier Technical College, 7745 Majors Road, or on-site at local businesses based upon need.

Operation 21 currently employs eight veteran law enforcement officers from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office and Alpharetta Police Department as instructors.

This article was published in the Forsyth Herald May 1, 2013 edition

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