A so-called “shoulder tap” sting operation, in which police watch for adults purchasing alcohol for people less than 21 years of age, was conducted by police in Martinez Tuesday.
Under the program, a minor under the direct supervision of a peace officer will stand outside a liquor or convenience store and ask patrons to buy them alcohol. The minor indicates in some way he or she is underage and cannot purchase the alcohol. If the adult agrees to purchase alcohol for the minor, officers then arrest and cite them for furnishing alcohol to the minor.
During this operation, one adult purchased alcohol for the minor and was issued a citation. In a separate incident, a second subject told the minor he did not have his identification to purchase alcohol, but instead offered to sell the 17-year-old marijuana. This subject was subsequently arrested for selling marijuana to a juvenile, which is a felony.
These operations are conducted in an attempt to educate the public about the Dangers of furnishing alcoholic beverages to minors. A perfect operation is one where the minor is unable to purchase an alcoholic beverage. Unfortunately, many people will furnish the alcoholic beverage to the minor only to comment afterwards they thought it could be a police sting.
Statistics have shown that young people under the age of 21 have a higher rate of drunken driving fatalities than the general adult population.
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.