Minor Decoy Sting Nabs Arcata Businesses
Arcata Police Dept. Press Release:
The Arcata Police Department cited two store clerks for selling alcohol to a minor and cited 3 adults who purchased alcohol for minors on 2/15/2013. The actions were the result of a Minor Decoy Operation and Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation.
The Minor Decoy Operation involved minors, who worked under the direct supervision of officers, who attempted to purchase alcohol from 5 retail licensees in the City of Arcata.
Retail licensees that sell to a minor may face a minimum fine of $250 and/or 24 to 32 hours of community service for a first violation. In addition, ABC will take administrative action against the alcoholic beverage license of the business, which may include a fine, a suspension of the license, or the permanent revocation of the license.
In addition to the Minor Decoy Operation, ABC Investigators also conducted a Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation. The Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation targeted adults who purchased alcohol for people under 21 years of age. The program involves a minor, under the supervision of a peace officer, outside a liquor or convenience store asking patrons to buy them alcohol. The minor indicates in some way he or she is underage and is unable to purchase the alcohol. If the adults agree to purchase alcohol for the minor, 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.
The Arcata Police Department is conducting the compliance checks 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 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.
The following locations sold alcohol to a minor, and the clerk was issued a citation:
- Arcata Liquors, 786 9th St, Arcata
- Arcata Co-Op, 811 I St, Arcata
The following locations did not sell alcohol to the minor decoys, and the Arcata Police Department appreciates their cooperation in combating underage drinking:
- Texaco Gas Station, 421 J St, Arcata
- Murphy’s Market, 785 Bayside Rd, Arcata Murphy’s Market, 100 Westwood Center, Arcata