Hearing to Consider Alcohol Server Training Requirements

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COLUMBIA - The Boone County Public Health and Human Services Department is holding a public hearing Thursday night to review the city's Substance Abuse Advisory Commission's recommended ordinance that would require all persons serving alcohol to obtain a server certificate.

Servers would have to complete a server training program approved by the state's Public Health and Human Services department in order to serve alcoholic beverages.

"I definitely don't think it's a bad thing. You always feel more comfortable when your staff is prepared to deal with serving alcohol especially when it comes to minors," said Brian Coley, owner/operator of Coley's American Bistro in Columbia.

The proposed training course is part of the State of Missouri Alcohol Responsibility Training (SMART), an on-line training program designed for the sellers and servers of alcohol to help prevent alcohol-related problems.

The server certificate fee is $5.00 for each new or renewed server certificate. The certificates are valid for three years from the date issued.

The department says the benefits of the training are the reduction of alcohol related accidents, reduction of service to underage individuals, and the reduction of over serving to already intoxicated individuals. Server training programs also can potentially lower nighttime DWI crashes by 17 percent.

Many of Columbia's restaurants and bars already have server training programs in place.

Thursday night's meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Boone County Health and Human Services at 1005 West Worley street in Columbia.

Steve Hollis, Human Services Manager at the Boone County Public Health and Human Services Department says the comission has been working on the training plan for the past four years.

"There are actually 30 states that require server training so this is not a new concept," said Hollis.