Madison could ban selling alcohol to problem alcoholics
By: Kristen Durst, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
The city of Madison is considering banning some chronic alcoholics from buying booze in retail stores. The idea comes from Green Bay, which first implemented a “no serve” list in the mid 90’s.
The Broadway business district in downtown Green Bay looks significantly different today than it did 15 years ago, according to Lieutenant Bill Bongle of the Green Bay Police. He says Broadway was a depressed neighborhood with a lot of visible signs of alcohol abuse. Lieutenant Bongle and his police partner set about making some sweeping changes, including implementing a no serve list for chronic abusers of alcohol. Bongle says a small group of people caused a large amount of criminal activity in the neighborhood. Lieutenant Bongle says the no serve list along with other efforts has led to 90 percent reduction in rescue calls and a similar decrease in disorderly misconduct in the Broadway district.
Based on successful results in Green Bay, Madison Alderman Michael Schumacher is proposing a no serve law in his city. He says the law would apply only to habitually intoxicated persons who have needed repeated treatment or have been convicted of crimes multiple times. Schumacher says retail clerks would get regular updated pictures and names and when they identify that person coming into a store, they could buy anything but alcohol. Schumacher is hoping that by cutting supply to the problematic few they’ll help curb aggressive panhandling, disorderly conduct, and help ease the strains on city services.