Patterns of alcohol policy enforcement activities among local law enforcement agencies: A latent class analysis

Darin J. Erickson, Patricia C. Rutledge, Kathleen M. Lenk, Toben F. Nelson, Rhonda Jones-Webb, Traci L. Toomey


Erickson, D., Rutledge, P., Lenk, K., Nelson, T., Jones-Webb, R., & Toomey, T. (2015). Patterns of alcohol policy enforcement activities among local law enforcement agencies: A latent class analysis. The International Journal Of Alcohol And Drug Research, 4(2), 103-111. doi:

Aims: We assessed levels and patterns of alcohol policy enforcement activities among U.S. local law enforcement agencies.

Design/Setting/Participants: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of a representative sample of 1,631 local law enforcement
agencies across the 50 states.

Measures/Methods: We assessed 29 alcohol policy enforcement activities within each of five enforcement domains—underage
alcohol possession/consumption, underage alcohol provision, underage alcohol sales, impaired driving, and overservice of
alcohol—and conducted a series of latent class analyses to identify unique classes or patterns of enforcement activity for each

Findings: We identified three to four unique enforcement activity classes for each of the enforcement domains. In four of the
domains, we identified a Uniformly Low class (i.e., little or no enforcement) and a Uniformly High enforcement activity class
(i.e., relatively high levels of enforcement), with one or two middle classes where some but not all activities were conducted.
The underage provision domain had a Uniformly Low class but not a Uniformly High class. The Uniformly Low class was the
most prevalent class in three domains: underage provision (58%), underage sales (61%), and overservice (79%). In contrast, less
than a quarter of agencies were in Uniformly High classes.

Conclusions: We identified qualitatively distinct patterns of enforcement activity, with a large proportion of agencies in classes
characterized by little or no enforcement and fewer agencies in high enforcement classes. An important next step is to determine
if these patterns are associated with rates of alcohol use and alcohol-related injury and mortality.


Alcohol; Enforcement; Latent Class Analysis

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