Tom Keeley, state alcohol beverage control commissioner, has made it his top priority to crack down on underage drinking.
"I think it's a problem that hasn't been addressed," he told us this week.
Keeley, the former president of the Harrison County Commission, has turned to high technology to help stop people under 21 from obtaining alcohol. He has demonstrated a new machine that can read an encrypted code from a driver's license, allowing employees at bars or convenience stores to determine if the person buying alcohol is of legal age.
He's also working on a new system in which people can call in tips about drinking establishments that serve underage customers.
We're glad to see Keeley and the Wise administration getting serious about this situation. Too many bars and stores continue to sell alcohol to kids, knowing full well they're breaking the law.
Keeley and Wise are responding with increased fines and tougher penalties, including suspension of liquor licenses or evening closing the businesses down.
We hope their efforts succeed. Of all the problems our state faces these days, this is one that can be remedied. And it can be done at little cost -- all it takes is the will to do it.
Fortunately, it would seem that Tom Keeley is committed to keeping booze out of the hands of underage drinkers. Go get 'em, Tom.