I was disappointed to read D.C. Council member Harold Brazil's criticism of the "sting" operation by D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC) investigators and D.C. police to curb underage drinking ["Police Sting Opens a Hornet's Nest," Style, Aug. 4].

Mr. Brazil knows that serving alcohol to minors is endemic in our city, from Georgetown bars to corner grocery stores in Anacostia. It's so bad that last year Congress mandated that the District hire 12 new ABC investigators to focus on underage drinking. And as a former ABC board member, I know that sting operations are the most effective method for curbing sales to minors: Word gets around quickly among those who sell alcohol when the police start pursuing strict enforcement.

Sting operations to enforce criminal sanctions against serving minors also have withstood constitutional scrutiny by state and federal courts -- which have found them to be legal, fair and effective. They are not "crazed tactics," as Mr. Brazil termed them.

I applaud the bartender in the article who took responsibility for his actions: He said he was wrong and admitted that, if he had been doing his job right, he would have had nothing to fear from the police. That is the responsible and mature response to this issue.

DENNIS BASS

Washington

The writer is a former member of the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.