SACRAMENTO- California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) agents work year round enforcing laws that help to keep Californian's safe, but this time of year in particular, they ramp up their focus on under-age drinking in conjunction with the new school year.
"We are well aware of the often celebratory atmosphere that is present as returning students and new students arrive at college campuses, apartments, dorms and fraternity, sorority housing," said California Alcoholic Beverage Control Agents (CABCA) President Kevin Highbaugh. "We all want them to be successful in pursuing their degrees and to enjoy the journey along the way. What we don't want is underage drinking, or over consumption by those 21 and older, both can lead to fights, sex assaults, DUIs, illegal stunts - things that can impact these young people for many years, if not the rest of their lives."
During the last two weekends in August, ABC agents teamed with Berkeley Police and other agencies to increase safety during Rush Week activities surrounding the University of California, Berkeley. During the enforcement period, agents and officers issued 551 alcohol-related citations and made 17 arrests. The enforcement effort was done in an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of underage drinking, drinking and driving and the penalties associated with alcohol-related violations.
Many of the 551 citations involved open containers, minors in possession of alcohol, fake identifications and furnishing alcohol to minors. The 17 arrests were for suspicion of public intoxication, armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and petty theft.
Also in August, ABC agents teamed with San Rafael police to conduct a decoy operation on August 27, 2016. Agents and officers cited two store clerks for selling alcohol to minors and cited four adults who purchased alcohol for minors. The adults who purchased alcohol for minors who stood outside stores asking customers if they would buy them some beer, ranged in age from 24-33 years old.
"We want adults to look at these kids, decoys or not, and just say no. I will not make that purchase for you, it's against the law and it is plain wrong," said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. "
On August 30, 2016, ABC agents and Clovis police cited four clerks for selling alcohol to minors. Agents and officers closely watched underage decoys entered 29 different businesses in an effort to purchase alcohol. Clerks who sell alcohol to a minor face a minimum fine of $250 and possible community service for the first violation. The business in which they work, can also be fined and ABC licenses suspended or revoked.