It is always good news when law enforcement agencies receive money to help keep people safe and target those who break the law. That's why the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) applauds the California Office of Traffic Safety for awarding a $1.5 million grant to the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). The grant will help fund operations that combat underage drinking and educate licensees about alcoholic beverage laws in California.
"Underage drinking leads to a myriad of other public safety issues," said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. "Driving under the influence, accidental injuries, physical and sexual assaults, the list goes on. Our members who are agents with ABC work days, nights, weekends and holidays to combat underage drinking. Our members who are licensing representatives also work to educate licensees about alcoholic beverage laws and the consequences if those laws are broken."
“Keeping alcohol out of the hands of youth is a huge priority for the ABC,” said ABC Director Timothy Gorsuch. “This grant will help reduce youth access to alcohol and increase safety in communities throughout California.”
How easy it for someone under 21 to obtain alcohol? On October 14, 2014, ABC agents and Chico police officers sent an underage decoy into five business to purchase alcohol. The decoy was able to buy the booze at three of the five locations - two gas stations and a liquor store. Likewise, a decoy was able to obtain alcohol by approaching an unsuspecting customer and asking him/her to buy the alcohol.
A similar scenario played out in Southern California on October 10, 2014. ABC agents teamed with Thousand Oaks police officers and witnessed an under-age decoy purchase alcohol at eight locations including bars, restaurants and liquor stores. Either employees didn't ask for identification or they looked at the underage ID and allowed the alcohol to be purchased anyway.
The grant awarded to the ABC from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will be used for ABC’s Target Responsibility for Alcohol-Connected Emergencies (TRACE) program, Minor Decoy and Shoulder Tap Decoy operations, Trapdoor Operations and Informed Merchants Preventing Alcohol-Related Crime Tendency (IMPACT) inspections.
The goal of the grant is to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors and reduce alcohol-related crime through multiple enforcement, educational and prevention programs conducted by ABC Agents and local law enforcement officers.