Oak Park Township is cracking down on youth drinking and has signed an intergovernmental agreement with the Village of Oak Park to pay the police department overtime to conduct compliance checks on alcohol sales to minors.

The Oak Park Board of Trustees approved a resolution at its July 8 meeting for the township to fund police overtime for the compliance checks that will send underage shoppers to establishments that sell alcohol to determine if they’re complying with the law.

The program is administered through the Oak Park River Forest Workgroup for Positive Youth Development (PYD).

Kelly O’Connor, who oversees the township’s PYD program, said the goal is not to hurt businesses but to make sure alcohol isn’t making it into the hands of those under 21.

“We offer them education and information – it’s proactive and prevention work,” she said.

According to the intergovernmental agreement approved on the village board consent agenda, the township will reimburse the village police overtime and youth stipends for the compliance checks.

The village noted in its background description of the intergovernmental agreement that the PYD workgroup was established in 2015 “to provide practical insight and guidance to support youth in making choices that lead to healthy, alcohol-free lives.”

The PYD is funded through a five-year grant from the Federal Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and is administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services, according to the village.

The township notes on its website that 30 percent of Oak Park and River Forest 8th through 12th graders said in 2016 that they had consumed alcohol within the last month. That’s compared to the 26 percent average statewide in 2018, O’Connor said.

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