Sgt. Scott Eberle
Date: May 15, 2014 12:39 PM
San Rafael, CA – May 15, 2014. Last weekend the San Rafael Police Department cited three clerks for selling alcohol to minors. The citations were the result of a minor decoy operation on Saturday, May 10th in which minors, under the direct supervision of officers, attempted to purchase alcohol from 19 retail licensees located within the San Rafael city limits.
Those who sold to the minor face a minimum fine of $250, and/or 24 to 32 hours of community service for a first violation. In addition, the State’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) will take administrative action against the alcoholic beverage license of the business. That may include a fine, a suspension of the license, or the permanent revocation of the license.
The San Rafael Police Department is conducting the compliance checks in order to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors. Statistics have shown that young people under the age of 21 have a higher rate of drunken driving fatalities than the general adult population.
Minor Decoy operations have been conducted by local law enforcement throughout the state since the 1980’s. When the program first began, the violation rate of retail establishments selling to minors was as high as 40 to 50 percent. When conducted on a routine basis, the rate has dropped in some cities to as low as 10 percent or even below.
In 1994, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously that use of underage decoys is a valid tool of law enforcement to ensure that licensees are complying with the law.
This project is part of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s Minor Decoy / Shoulder Tap Grant Project, funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.