As part of an effort to combat underage drinking, on March 9, 2019, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Deputies participated in statewide Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation. This operation was funded by a 2018 California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) grant given to the Sheriff’s Office to conduct investigations and operations into alcohol related offenses. The goal of the operation was to raise awareness about the dangers of underage drinking and also to make it clear to any adults that buy alcohol to minors that there are serious consequences.
As part of the operation, deputies traveled to locations in the Isla Vista and Goleta areas in attempt to locate people willing to buy alcohol for minors. Deputies used a minor decoy (under the age of 21, but over the age of 18) to ask people in front of convenience/liquor stores if they would purchase alcohol for him/her. The decoy always told each subject contacted that he/she was under the age of 21 prior to the purchase. When subjects purchased alcohol for the minor, deputies would move in and issue the subject a citation for furnishing alcohol to a minor.
During the operation, 67 people were contacted. Deputies issued five citations to people furnishing alcohol to a minor/decoy. Deputies also issued one citation to a minor for possessing alcohol. In all, nearly 70 Police and Sheriff’s Departments in California cited 361 individuals during the statewide underage drinking enforcement operation.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office uses grant funding from ABC to battle alcohol-related crime in the Isla Vista and Goleta, areas which tend to have a higher percentage of these types of incidents. In addition to conducting operations such as this one, the grant funding is also utilized to educate both on-sale and off-sale establishments with the importance of operating within the restrictions of their ABC licenses.
“Unfortunately over 4,000 young people die in alcohol-related tragedies every year in this country,” said ABC Director Jacob Appelsmith. “This collaborative effort among California peace officers creates awareness to underage drinking issues, increases public safety for communities and also boosts protections for California’s young people.”
ABC protects communities through excellence in education and by administering prevention and enforcement programs designed to increase compliance with California’s alcoholic beverage laws.
ABC’s mission is to provide the highest level of service and public safety through licensing, education and enforcement. To learn more about ABC programs that help protect communities, prevent alcohol-related harm and potentially save lives visit https://www.abc.ca.gov/programs/programs_PE.html. ABC is a Department of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.