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Sheriff and ABC continue alcohol sting operations

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The SLO County Board of Supervisors accepted another $55,653 grant that will go toward continuing “minor decoy” and “shoulder tap” programs aimed at reducing underage drinking in the coming year.

The money from the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control will be used by the Sheriff’s Department to identify adults who buy alcohol for minors, as well as alcohol vendors who sell to minors.

A large portion of the grant already went toward cracking down on underage drinking at the California Mid-State Fair. The sting operations resulted in five arrests and 28 citations at the fair this year, according to the Sheriff’s Department. Periodic sting operations will continue in parts of the county throughout the year.

The “shoulder tap” program involves a minor, under direct supervision of an officer, approaching an adult and asking him or her to buy alcohol. If the adult complies, officers arrest and cite them for furnishing alcohol to a minor. That offense carries a penalty including a minimum $1,000 fine and 24 hours of community service.

The “minor decoy” operation involves sending a minor into a store to purchase alcohol. Stores that are cited for selling to minors receive a minimum $250 fine and/or 24 to 32 hours of community service for the first violation, on top of administrative actions by the ABC against their liquor license.

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