Michael Halfacre submitted his resignation as Director of the New Jersey Division of Alcohol Beverage Control to Acting Attorney General John Hoffman yesterday, effective June 30,2015.
Under Halfacre’s leadership since March of 2012, the ABC is credited with cracking down on underage drinking, the sale of alcohol to the already intoxicated, and penalizing establishments that were scamming consumers by “drink substitution,” i.e. charging customers for the “top shelf” drinks they ordered while actually serving cheaper booze.
During Halfacre’s tenure, new laws were implemented for the brewing and distilling industry which have lead to an emerging micro brewing industry. Additionally, new rules were written to regulate the direct sale of wine to consumers by out-of-state wineries.
Trenton- Alcohol Beverage Control Director Michael Halfacre announced charges against two Jersey Shore area drinking establishments today.
Forked River House of Lacey Township is charged with serving alcohol to actually or apparently intoxicated individuals on six occasions between August of 2012 and March of 2013. In each occasion, the patrons were arrested for driving while intoxicated after leaving the establishment. Their blood alcohol concentration ranged from .15% to .21%. In New Jersey, a person is guilty of drunk driving if their blood alcohol concentration is .08% or greater.
Porta, the Asbury Park pizza restaurant is charged with serving alcohol to two underage women during the summer of 2012. Undercover investigators arrested two 20 year old women for underage drinking on June 9, 2012. A month later investigators arrested a third 20 woman for underage drinking at Porta.
30 Shore Law Enforcement Agencies Will Participate in “Cops in Shops” Stings
BELMAR – Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa gathered in Belmar today with state and local officials, as well as members of the liquor and prevention industry to outline his plans to stop underage drinking on the Jersey Shore.
“We all look forward to soaking up the fun of the Jersey Shore this summer, but we’re focused today on a serious mission: keeping the good times safe for our teens and young people,” Chiesa said. “Simply put, I consider underage drinking a threat to the health and well-being of our youth in New Jersey.”
The keystone of the Shore efforts is the “Cops in Shops” program, which is run by the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
“Cops in Shops” is a program designed by the Century Council, a national not-for-profit organization funded by distillers. Under the program, local police officers work undercover in participating retail locations. Law enforcement officials either pose as store employees or are positioned outside the establishment to apprehend adults who attempt to purchase alcohol for underage drinkers. The New Jersey Cops in Shops program is recognized nationally as a successful program.
“One Shore teenager told us that it was common for her and her friends to wait outside a liquor store for a sympathetic adult to buy them alcohol. She called this ‘Going Fishing,’” Chiesa said. “My message for those teens and adults of a similar mind is this: Simply don’t do it.”
Former Mayor Mike Halfacre’s nomination as the Director of the Division Alcoholic Beverage Control was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee this afternoon.
In answering questions posed by members of the committee, Halfacre expressed his commitment to combat underage drinking and to run his agency has a regulatory and enforcement body, not a policy making body.
Halfacre was appointed Assistant Attorney General and Acting Director on February 6. His nomination is scheduled be voted on by the full Senate on March 15.
Mike Halfacre, the Acting Director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, said that combating underage drinking will be among his top priorities as he takes the lead of the agency.
“I am honored and excited by this opportunity and I am grateful to Governor Christie and Attorney General Chiesa for the chance to serve the State of New Jersey,” Halfacre said. “From the outset, I will make combating underage drinking a priority, and strive to make our division more efficient and user-friendly to both the public and alcoholic beverage industry.”
The ABC is charged with protecting and furthering the public welfare by fostering moderation and responsibility in the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages. The agency also ensures the economics of the alcoholic beverage industry to New Jersey by maintaining the stability of the industry and securing state revenues derived from the commerce of alcoholic beverages.
In announcing Halfacre’s appointment, Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said, “Michael Halfacre brings an outstanding record as a municipal legal professional that will be vital to leading the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. This is an important division with dedicated and expert legal and professional staff which regulates the commerce of alcoholic beverages within New Jersey.”
Additionally, the former Fair Haven Mayor will be responsible for implementing recent legislation that allows New Jersey wineries that produce 250,000 gallons or less of wine annually to ship directly to consumers. The new law also permits small wineries to operate up to 16 retail outlets each throughout the state.