BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Local bars and restaurants have been struggling with underage patrons using fake IDs, so much so they reached out to Public Health Substance Abuse Prevention Director Susan Kahler last year for help.

Kahler applied for a grant from the state to help fund a fake ID pilot program.

“These ID scanners are actually rented out to local establishments within the Bismarck Mandan area, and what the scanner does is it actually scans the front and the back of the ID,” said Caitlin Horne, community engagement officer.

Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health and the Bismarck Police Department decided to work together on the issue of fake IDs.

And in August 2021, they launched the pilot program with the goal of decreasing the number of fake IDs in the area.

“Especially in colleges and unfortunately it’s going into high schools binge drinking is a big issue. You hear countless stories every year at a frat party or even at a house party that younger adults are dying because they are drinking so much,” said Horne.

The program uses specialized scanners that have the ability to detect fake IDs at a more efficient rate than people trying to identify them visually.

“We were getting a couple of the same IDs at different locations,” said Horne. “So the individual would get caught at one bar and then they would go to another one and use the other ID that they have. “

The scanners are installed on-site and businesses are trained on how to operate them, and the scanners are proving effective.

“We currently have 170 fake IDs that we were able to take this last year,” said Horne.

Officer Horne says the department doesn’t want to punish those who get caught using a Fake ID.

Instead, the goal is to educate teenagers on the dangers of drinking at a young age.

“Instead of them getting criminally charged, we are able if they go to school here we are able to educate them rather on the severity of it than for them to get criminally charged and possibly lose a job, a scholarship or get kicked out of school,” said Horne.

The program also is being used to promote Responsible Beverage Server Training.

An officer goes to bars and restaurants and trains staff to be aware of when to cut off patrons, among other skills