On Saturday, March 15, agents from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and officers from at least 109 local police and sheriff’s departments joined forces in a Statewide Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation. The operation resulted in 544 citations and arrests during a major effort to keep alcohol away from the under-21 set and to make the streets safer.
Most individuals were cited for furnishing alcoholic beverages to minors, however, there were some cited for open containers and false identification. In addition 60 individuals were arrested for crimes such as driving under the influence, illegal drugs, public drunkenness, parole violations, resisting arrest and outstanding warrants.
"This is an outstanding effort and demonstrates how ABC agents work together with local law enforcement officers to keep safe our young people and all of us out on the roadways," said Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) which represents ABC agents. "People think they're doing these kids a favor by buying them alcohol and our ABC agents are there to remind them, not only is it against the law, it could lead to dui's, accidents, fights and even death."
Under the Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation, a decoy under the age of 21 and under the direct supervision of an agent or officer, stands outside a liquor or convenience store and ask patrons to buy them alcohol. The decoy indicates in some way he or she is underage and cannot purchase the alcohol. If the adults agree to purchase the alcohol, agents or officers then arrest and cite them for furnishing alcohol to the minor. The penalty for furnishing alcohol to a minor is a minimum $1000 fine and 24 hours of community service.
According to the American Medical Association, underage drinking can increase chances of risky sexual behavior and teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, compromise health, and result in unintentional injury and death.
Many local operations were funded by the California Alcoholic Beverage Control through the department’s Grant Assistance Program (GAP), and some were funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). ABC is a Department of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.