They're part of a little-known division of law enforcement in British Columbia, responsible for policing the service and consumption of liquor. They're decked out in body armour and they take use of force lessons from trained professionals.
B.C.'s liquor cops have a big territory to cover, with more than 1,000 retail outlets and 8,000 restaurants and bars. To gain insight into their activities, there are agendas and minutes of Liquor Control and Licensing Branch compliance and enforcement managers meetings that I accessed via Freedom of Information
Some highlights of meetings held between Jan. 10, 2012 and Nov. 13, 2012:
Jan. 10: a cop in Kelowna rang in the new year in a fight with a Hells Angels' member and a government vehicle was struck by a drunk driver.
Feb. 21: LCLB got headsup that the government would try to privatize the Liquor Distribution Branch's warehousing and distribution.
March 6: A promoter was giving away beer in Vancouver streets, called Beer in a Bag. (Hey, why didn't anybody tell me about this?)
April 6: Cash used by undercover teens in the Minors as Agents Program was going missing and LCLB was seeking a "petty cash alternative following problems with the issuance and tracing of petty cash for minor agent purchases."
May 15: LCLB ordered 60 coffee mugs, ostensibly for coffee (not "special" coffee) and an application for a 500-person beer garden at the Vancouver Festival of Lights (Celebration of Light fireworks) was denied.
July 10: a ubrew/uvin was selling 40% alcohol and testing found it was actually 43.2%.
Aug. 21: increased gang activity was noted in Gastown, a possible spillover from the Granville Mall (aka entertainment district) and LCLB investigators were granted access to the Canadian Police Information Centre database.
Sept. 4: Three of seven private liquor stores in North Vancouver contravened liquor laws according to the undercover teens from the MAP program who tried to buy booze.
Nov. 13: gang activity was noted in the Okanagan.