The state's Attorney General's Division of Alcoholic Beverage Controlplans to crack down on underage drinking at the Jersey Shore this summer withtheir "Cops in Shops" initiative.
This summer in Avalon, if you're under the age of 21…you booze…youlose.
"If you're underage, no sale," said Chris Romo,manager at Fred's Liquor in Avalon.
Chief of Avalon Police, William McCormick, said, "All ofthe participating departments within the state received a total of $61,000 forthe year of 2013. Avalon itselfreceived approximately $2,000 of this grant."
The program aims to deter underage drinking by having local policeofficers work undercover in liquor stores to target those under the age of 21trying to purchase alcohol, and those over the legal age who are buying it forsomeone underage.
McCormick told NBC40, "Well if the person is deemed tohave a fake ID, or is not of age, the person will be placed under arrest - andthat person could face up to six months in jail or a thousand dollars fine foreach instance."
Avalon police officials say that programs like this one haveworked for them in the past and that even though teens throughout the state ofNew Jersey are still going to test their luck at bars and liquor stores thissummer - they should know that police in Avalon are cracking down on underagedrinking.
Seasonal resident, Alex Keseeli, said, "That could bescary because you could be put into a situation where, 'Oh my god there's apolice officer in there!' I'm going to start freaking out and if I get caught.What could happen to me?"
Romo explained, "It's going to be a tough summer becausewe are getting better and better. Every year we know what to look for - juststay away."
And teenagers in Avalon are already talking about the policepresence this summer.
Avalon resident, Malcolm Flynn, said, "It's obviouslygoing to make our lives slightly harder but it's what they got to do - it's thelaw - and that's that."
Since its inception in 1996, ‘Cops in Shops' has resulted inmore than 10,000 arrests.