Find out what the TABC does on a regular basis. Hear it right from the Agents.
Full Frontal: What the TABC is all about.
By: Leigh Ann Weaver
If you’re a minor drinking out on the town, the TABC would be considered your worst nightmare. Well, the guys and gals behind the badge are not just looking for underage drinking and drunkards wondering around town, they are more than what they seem.
On a Saturday night, I went out with the TABC on one of their routine night rides. Thinking that all they do is bust minors and arrest people for public intoxication, I was enlightened and interested in what their job really entails.
“TABC officers are regular police officers that are trained to enforce the Alcohol Beverage Code. We enforce this code to ensure the safety of Texas citizens,” said Agent Chris Roberts.
Agent Chris Roberts and Agent Kyle Kelso were the officers nice enough to show me around. Then it was time to go. Before we left they had to check the complaints to see if there was anywhere specific we had to go. There wasn’t, so the first place we went was to a local convenient store to check its plethora of alcohol.
“First we have approach the facility like a regular police officer, we have to make sure the scene is safe and that there is no one getting robbed or hurt. Then before we walk in we have to make sure the TABC regulated signs are in view to normal citizens. If all of that is in place then we go inside to check if the facility has all of its forms and licenses,” said Agent Roberts.
Everything was where it was supposed to be. So we then walked into the coolers where they kept all the alcohol. Agent Kelso showed me that the alcohol has to be well kept and organized. If a can has a dent that is too large then it has to be destroyed. If there is a beer box that is damaged, the cans can only be sold as singles. It is a violation for them to be repackaged as six-packs.
“It is illegal for single cans to be resold as six-packs because the business would be cheating its customers for money. It is cheaper for a business to buy in bulk than it is to buy in smaller amounts. So the customers would pay more, in the beer to money ratio, for a six-pack than they would a 24-pack,” said Agent Kyle Kelso.
Agent Kelso and I also checked the “wine cooler” section and the wine. We had to make sure all of the wine on the rack had under 17 percent alcohol. If it’s above, its illegal. Everything looked good so we were set to go to our next destination… the Stockyards.
“We went to the Stockyards on a random visit because we know that a lot of minors go there to party,” said Agent Roberts.
An official TABC sign that MUST be seen when approaching
a convenient store that sells alcohol.
We walked into a club and started our business. I was walking between the two officers, for safety precautions, and I got so many weird looks. They were all either kind of evil looks or really confused. The officers and I stopped to check out the crowd. Agent Kelso walked up to a girl standing near the dance floor and asked to see her I.D. She was 18.
“We all know the signs of a minor when they’re drinking or have been drinking. If we walk up and they look nervous then we know because if they were of age then there wouldn’t be a reason for them to be nervous. Also, if they slyly put their drink down then that is another sign that they’re underage,” said Agent Kelso.
While Agent Kelso was writing the minor a ticket, Agent Roberts was talking to the club owner.
“We just informed the owner of what was going on and asked him if he had seen anything. We also asked him to talk to his bouncers to make sure they were doing their job correctly,” said Agent Roberts.
After the minor was kicked out of the club and everything with the owner was handled, we set forth to downtown Fort Worth.
“The Fort Worth Police has been trying to clean up downtown a little and they were having problems trying to find the source of the intensely intoxicated people. So they asked us to investigate to see if we can find the source of the problem,” said Agent Roberts.
We walked into the bar of our choice. We surveyed the scene to make sure it was safe. After it was decided safe, we darted straight behind the bar.
“Our purpose for checking behind the bar is to make sure that all of the liquor bottles have tax stamps and that when they serve a customer, they serve them the right quality of liquor so the customer isn’t being cheated. The tax stamps are to make sure that the bar is paying the taxes for their bottles,” said Agent Kelso.
After we established that this bar was a well and legally functioning business, it was time to head back to the office. When we got back Agent Roberts informed me that for every fifteen minutes of fun, there is about three hours of paper work.
“Behind the scenes of the TABC there is a lot of paperwork. If you make an arrest, write a ticket or make a case you have to fill out the associated paperwork,” said Agent Roberts.
Luckily for the officers, we didn’t have any “fun” that Saturday night because it was too cold outside; so either of them didn’t have to do much paperwork. At the end of the night, I realized I had a good time so I asked the officers what they would like people to know about them that isn’t already known.
“We TABC officers are just normal cops that want to ensure the safety of the citizens. Although a lot of people think the only we do is ticket minors and drag out drunks, we always have the publics’ safety in mind,” said Agent Roberts.
To learn more about the TABC, contact them at:
Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission
PO Box 13127
Austin, Texas 78711