TIPS Certification

Donya Forst, Print Editor

Government, law, and national security students have an important addition to their resumes: They are certified to deal with alcohol-related incidents in a variety of workplaces.

Dr. John Mellon, associate professor of business and  instructor for Training Intervention Procedures of Service of Alcohol held certification classes for students in Dr. Brian Carso’s law seminar class, Introduction to the American Legal System.

“This could be something the students could add to their resumes. Plus when they become future police officers or attorneys, because many students in the [government, law and national security] program end up going to law school, they would understand it from both perspectives – the person’s perspective and from the establishment from where they obtain the liquor’s prospective,” said Mellon.

Students attended three certification classes in October and then took the  certification exam held on campus. Students needed a minimum 70 percent score to  pass the 40 question test.

While Carso agreed that TIPS looks great on a resume, the knowledge can be applied to many facets of life.

“While TIPS training is especially useful for students in the hospitality professions or in law and law enforcement, it struck everyone in the class as being useful training for a wide variety of situations, and that it would benefit anyone who ever gets the chance to take the course,” he said.

The purpose of the TIPS program is to help students understand and promote safety in places such as bars, hotels, restaurants and specifically the hospitality industry when alcohol is served and consumed. It is backed by the United States Department of Transportation.

According to the Department of Transportation, 20,000 Americans are killed each year in alcohol-related traffic accidents and amount to half of all highway deaths.

“It was a joint effort between the business department and the government and law program to have two departments collaborating together for the good of our students,” said Mellon.

Another perk of TIPS certification is that  many insurance companies also provide discounted rates to employers of certified employees.

“Also, if employers can show that 50 percent of their employees are TIPS certified, they can then apply for a 50 percent reduction in their liquor liability,” said Mellon.

The program stressed the importance of learning behavioral cues such as inhibition, judgment, reactions and coordination as well as intoxication rate factors, including a person’s size, gender, rate of consumption, strength of the drink, drug use and food intake while observing someone who has been consuming alcohol to minimize outbreaks or fights.

“The students needed to learn people skills and reasonable efforts as well,” said Mellon. “Has the service of alcohol taken reasonable efforts to see that no one gets impaired and goes out and hurts themselves or others?”

These items would also be important in a court of law or police report. Police officers are required to fill out a “Refusal of Service Report” whenever an incident occurs in an establishment. The form includes event location, description and physical observation of the person involved, as well as the owner of the establishments’ actions in handling the incident.

“If a bartender or waitress were to say ‘we are not going to serve you anymore,’ you would complete the ‘Refusal of Service Report’ and what’s nice about it is that it is very simple. This is then a document they could take to the courtroom,” said Mellon.

The course also provided basic information about alcohol, including the fact that 12 ounces of beer is equivalent to 5 oz. of wine, which is equivalent to ½ oz. of pure alcohol. It also provided tops to determine whether an ID is legitimate or not.

“[The course] also fits in with the four charisms of the university, which are mercy, service, justice and hospitality. The students learned people skills to take reasonable efforts so that no one over-drinks and goes out and hurts themselves or hurts other people,” said Mellon.

All 28 students involved in the course, as well Carso who also took the class, passed the certification exam and are now officially TIPS certified.

“All of what they learned can be used as a police officer. They could look at someone in the terms of behavioral cues and intoxication rate factors which all affect how someone acts. I thought, we are training future policemen and future attorneys and this course allows students to defend bars and hotels from not getting sued,” said Mellon.

Carso said departmental partnership benefited students in ways they can immediately apply to their lives.

“For students interested in law, the TIPS training presents real life situations regarding legal liability and efforts to mitigate that liability.  Students who go into law or law enforcement will find this training to be instructive and practical, and students are advised to list it on their resumes as they look for summer jobs or full-time employment in the future,” Carso said.