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San Rafael Police Department

San Rafael Police Department

For Immediate Release

Author: Cpl. Lilah Gavlick
Date: March 10, 2018 10:28 PM

San Rafael Police Department Runs Decoy Operation in Attempt to Reduce Underage Drinking

On March 10, 2018, Officers with the San Rafael Police Department conducted a Shoulder Tap operation.  As a result of the operation, three adults were cited.

San Rafael Police Officers conducted a Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation. A Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation targets adults who purchase alcohol for people less than 21 years of age.  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 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.  Out of the 12 adults the decoy asked to purchase alcohol, three agreed and furnished alcohol to the decoy.  

The following adults were cited as a result of the Shoulder Tap operation:

  • Raul Valverde-Cayllahua, a 23-year-old male from San Rafael. Valverde was also in violation of his probation terms by possessing alcohol. Valverde was issued a citation for the probation violation, and was released on a promise to appear.
  • Talin Brown, a 41-year-old male from San Rafael.
  • Manuel Hernandez-Martinez, a 25 year old male from San Rafael.

ABC is conducting the 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.

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. 

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) through the department’s Grant Assistance Program.  ABC is a Department of the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency

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Last Modified: March 11, 2018 1:30 PST (by Holm)


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