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Place of Last Drink (POLD)

The Place of Last Drink (POLD) is the last place that a person drank alcohol before being issued a citation by a law enforcement officer for an alcohol‐related incident. Information gathered during alcohol‐related arrests and included in the police report can be used to identify alcohol on‐premises establishments that have a pattern of overserving.

Using Place of Last Drink (POLD) Data to Save Lives

Reducing excessive alcohol consumption due to over‐serving is a public health and safety issue. Alcohol misuse causes a variety of harms to others including fatal car crashes and pedestrian injuries due to impaired driving, domestic and other interpersonal violence, shootings, and homicide. In 2020, alcohol caused over 3,100 deaths in Wisconsin, of which 167 were from motor vehicle crashes involving alcohol. Since approximately half of those arrested for operating while intoxicated (OWI) came from licensed premises, reducing over‐serving at establishments licensed to serve alcohol on‐premises (such as restaurants, bars, and taverns) could substantially reduce drunk driving and other harms caused by excessive alcohol use.

Why compile POLD data?

Compiling POLD information is an effective, low‐cost method to identify local licensees that demonstrate a pattern of over‐serving alcohol to its customers. Knowing which licensees consistently serve alcohol to intoxicated customers allows communities to focus resources on establishments with a documented over‐serving problem. When patterns of over‐serving are identified, licensees and law enforcement can work together to reduce over‐serving without imposing extra restrictions on compliant licensees.

Who compiles POLD data?

In the absence of a state coordinated POLD initiative, law enforcement agencies should collaborate regionally, with support from prevention professionals (public health, human services, and/or community coalitions) to compile and utilize POLD data.

How should POLD data be used?

A clear pattern of over‐serving is sufficient cause for a serious discussion with a licensee or to initiate an investigation. Local law enforcement can use POLD data to initiate remediation efforts with the over‐serving licensee. If the licensee does not cooperate to reduce its over‐serving pattern, the data can be shared with the alcohol licensing review committee, city or town council, or village board,

Place of Last Drink (POLD) Toolkit

A POLD compilation requires the support and participation of local law enforcement and works best with the support of the elected officials of the community: it is not something citizens undertake independently. A POLD project provides an opportunity for citizen groups, especially coalitions working to reduce excessive alcohol use to build or improve a working relationship with law enforcement and municipal government. In September 2022, the Alcohol Epidemiology Program of the University of Minnesota created a Place of Last Drink (POLD) Manual that can be used anywhere as a guide for those considering a POLD project. The information and steps summarized, supported by the appendices and samples, can help guide your project development.

View the Minnesota POLD Toolkit (PDF)