Officials will seek alcohol buyers for teens
You’re going to the liquor store on New Year’s Eve. A teenager taps you on the shoulder and asks you to buy her some beer. You agree but when you walk out of the store, police surround you.
The South Lake Tahoe Police Department and a 10-member Special Operations Unit of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control are warning South Lake Tahoe residents not to furnish alcohol to people under 21. This New Year’s weekend, that teenager could be a decoy.
The state and local law enforcement departments are working together this holiday weekend for a “Shoulder Tap” program, which is designed to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors by conducting an operation that targets adults who furnish liquor to teenagers.
“We’ll be using (South Lake Tahoe Police Department) Explorers, who are 18 and younger,” said Forrest Frazier, commander of the special operations unit. “They will attempt to get adults to buy or furnish alcohol for them. If they are successful, we will step in and issue a citation.”
Under a new law, which became effective in January of this year, anyone caught furnishing alcohol to a minor faces a minimum $1,000 fine and 24 hours of community service. The El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office plans to prosecute violators.
The Special Operations Unit has helped law enforcement at the South Shore New Year’s celebration before. However, this is the first time the “Shoulder Tap” program will be implemented at South Lake Tahoe.
Since most of the problems at the South Shore celebration are attributed to underage drinking, the department expects the “Shoulder Tap” program to help.
Even though the “Shoulder Tap” program is a sting operation, authorities don’t want it to be a mystery that the program is happening.
“We want the public to be aware of the program,” said Everest Robillard, supervising investigator of the unit. “We want public support. If you’re approached by a kid, please say, ‘No.'”
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