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Cuts at Duluth PD lead to fewer sting operations

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DULUTH, MN -

There's more than 150 liquor stores in Duluth that require compliance checks from the Duluth Police Department. 

"To check all of them, every year, is very labor intensive and time consuming," said Deputy Chief Laura Marquardt, with the Duluth Police Department. 

That means, not all of them are checked annually, and in fact, many of them aren't.  It's been three years since the department did a citywide compliance check of all liquor stores.

Marquardt said that was in 2014, when 10 of the 150 stores didn't pass, a number Marquardt wants at 0. 

Marquardt said, "We want to be able to get maximum compliance, without actual punitive measures. We want them [the businesses] to just follow the laws and the requirements. That would be our best wish." 

Most recently, University Liquor failed their compliance check. It was their third failure in a row over the last 7 years - and their first since 2012. Marquardt says the department could use more staff to ensure more regular checks. 

"Liquor compliance is important, but we prioritize what ends up being more important, or less important in any given 4 month period, 6 month period, or year period. So, I think we have adequate staff. Would I like more staff? Absolutely wouldn't say no to that," said Marquardt.

The department used to have 14 community officers running compliance checks, but now they are performed only after a complaint, or on semi-regular basis.

"There's a balance. I'd always like to be able to do more, whether that's compliance checks or education. I think we're close to a good balance, but we're not quite there. I think we could do more," said Marquardt.

Both Hermantown and Superior police departments say they have adequate resources and the necessary budget to perform the amount of liquor compliance checks they need to on an annual basis. 

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