Alcohol and tobacco agency earns top national award

 

Delaware Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement Director John Yeomans, left, accepts the Agency of the Year award on behalf of their agency. (Submitted photo/NLLEA)

Delaware Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement Director John Yeomans, left, accepts the Agency of the Year award on behalf of their agency. (Submitted photo/NLLEA)

DOVER — Lauded for an innovative approach to alcohol and tobacco enforcement, a Delaware agency is recognized as the country’s best.

The Delaware Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement was recently named 2016 agency of the year by the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association.

The honor was announced at the NLLEA’s national convention in early September in Indianapolis, Indiana.

There’s nothing to match the honor bestowed upon DATE, according to Director John Yeomans.

“This is the first award of this magnitude [for us],” he said.

Director Yeomans had submitted an award application beforehand, but the honor still came unexpectedly.

“We were advised before going to the conference based on our submission that we had won,” Director Yeomans said.

“Frankly I was surprised. I think we think of the things we do here as a matter of business and doing the right thing by all our stakeholders. I didn’t think the things we have been doing would gather so such attention.”

DATE consists of 14 investigative agents, two lieutenants who also investigate, a deputy director and director. Also some part-time agents take part in task forces and SWAT team operations.

“It’s great to have your organization recognized for its work and efforts and know you were selected amongst a lot of agencies doing some great work across the country,” Director Yeomans said. “We are very proud to represent Delaware in this way.

“It’s a team effort here. Everyone contributed to us receiving this award.”

Moving forward DATE aims to continue building partnerships with other law enforcement agencies and community members.

“[We’ve focused on outreach] to other law enforcement and government agencies to let them know what we do and how we can be a resource,” Directory Yeomans said.

“Equally important is our outreach to the community. We are hosting citizen’s academies and youth programs that have never been done here at DATE. We have been really focused on prevention and awareness with youth and families.

“As a law enforcement agency we recognize the value in education and awareness and that bringing charges and violations forward is often a last resort in the industries we regulate.

“We have been working really hard to get in front of kids and parents to discuss the dangers associated with tobacco and alcohol abuse.”

Director Yeomans highlighted the Citizen’s Police and Youth Academies as top accomplishments, along with hosting NLLEA’s National Training Symposium in April.

Division personnel spent many hours planning the conference, teaming with the NLLEA and other logistics

“Several DATE agents served as instructors along with instructors from around the country providing training on topics related to fake IDs, social networking and cyberspace investigations, intelligence-sharing measures, illegal gambling and special events enforcement, to name a few,” a NLLEA news released stated.

Building relationships beyond state borders has paid off for Delaware’s public safety, according to DATE.

“We also had received funding from the NLLEA to educate law enforcement agencies around the state on services we provide and how we can support them namely with nuisance locations that serve alcohol,” Director Yeomans said.

“While things like citizens academies and youth camps have been around for awhile I think this was relatively new for alcohol and tobacco enforcement agencies.”

The NLLEA described outreach to educating the public on its importance to the alcohol industry and communities as “unprecedented.”

“This award is a true reflection of the hardworking men and women who are committed to our core values and being part of a professional law enforcement agency,” Director Yeomans said. “We will continue to look for ways to increase our agency’s effectiveness while keeping the people of Delaware safe.”

More information on DATE is available online at www.date.delaware.gov.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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