A fake ID scanning app, Age ID, is being utilized by the Greenville Police Department (GPD), Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) and Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to test the effectiveness of its use.
The Age ID app itself is used by officers to identify fake or questionable IDs, according to East Carolina University’s Deputy Chief of Police, Jason Sugg. He said the purpose of the app is to scan the barcode of the ID and it will notify the officer if the ID is fake, questionable or real.
Local ALE and ABC officers have access to the app in addition to several members of the GPD, according to Sugg. The ECU Police Department does not have access to the app yet, but are considering usage depending on cost and effectiveness.
“Right now, it’s primarily your alcohol enforcement like the ABC board and ALE because there is a cost of this,” Sugg said. “It’s not like it’s just a few dollars per unit.”
Sugg said it is unlikely officers will be stationed outside of bars in downtown Greenville, unless ALE is doing an enforcement campaign where they are attempting to remove fake IDs off the street from time to time.
“There’s not going to be any ECU officers guarding doors to these privately owned businesses like that, but if there’s a campaign going on you could see officers looking for fake IDs to collect off the street, that’s possible,” Sugg said.
Sugg said officers will probably only be stationed outside of clubs downtown occasionally, but they may not necessarily be every night.
It’s not certain how many officers will have access to the app in the future, Sugg said. The number of officers who have access to the app depends on the cost. In the future, it’s unlikely every officer will have the Age ID scanner.
“I can’t foresee every officer having these but there’s a possibility that you might have a couple officers in the downtown area that might have one,” Sugg said.
Sugg said he believes the app should be implemented, despite the cost, to help decrease the number of fake IDs in Greenville. He said he believes the tool would be a worthwhile investment for officers.
Fake IDs are a threat to the people possessing them, as well as innocent people whose information is being used fraudulently, according to Sugg. He said people need to think more carefully about having fake IDs.
“Years ago, maybe it was one thing, but (in) this day and age if you have somebody else’s information on it you’re looking at identity theft because you’re going to cause this person a lot of legal and financial problems,” Sugg said.
Kristen Hunter, GPD Public Information Officer, said in an email to The East Carolinian, ALE is the agency taking the lead on the initiative, but the Greenville police department will be partnering with them.
Greenville resident and bartender at Club 519, Greer Jones, said she appreciates the effort made by the officers and the app technology.
“It’s difficult to tell a lot of times if IDs are fake or real because some of them do look so real, so it would be helpful to have officers cut down on the fakes being used downtown for the sake of us (bartenders) getting in trouble,” Jones said.
Jones said there can be fines and bars can get in trouble for serving people underage, even if their ID says they are 21. She said she believes the app might be able to help with the number of fake IDs present on the streets of Greenville.