Reporting Deputy: Sergeant Mike Troyer
File # N/A
On August 21, 2023, deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office conducted a Minor Decoy Operation and Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation in the city of San Jacinto. The operation resulted in one citation for an adult who furnished alcohol to a minor decoy at a business within the 600 block of South San Jacinto Avenue and one citation for an adult who furnished alcohol to a minor decoy at a business within the 1200 block of South State Street.
The Minor Decoy Operation involves minors who work under the direct supervision of deputies. The minors attempted to purchase alcohol from three retail licensees within the city of San Jacinto. The three retail businesses visited did not furnish alcohol to the minor decoys.
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 Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) will take administrative action against the alcoholic beverage license of the business where alcohol was sold to a minor. That may include a fine, a suspension, or the permanent revocation of the license.
In addition to the Minor Decoy Operation, deputies also conducted a Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation. The minors attempted to have eighteen adults at three different licensed retail stores furnish them alcohol. A Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation targets adults who purchase alcohol for people less than 21 years of age. The penalty for furnishing alcohol to a minor is a minimum $1,000 fine and 24 hours of community service.
ABC and local law enforcement conduct compliance checks statewide 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. About 25 percent of alcohol-related crashes involve underage drinking, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Minor Decoy operations have been conducted by local law enforcement throughout the state since the 1980s. 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 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”
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