Watsonville police get extra funding for second year to reduce underage drinking

WATSONVILLE, Calif. - The Watsonville Police Department is getting extra state funding for the second year in a row to reduce underage drinking.

It's a grant from the state's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). ABC awarded the department $56,640 because the results from the 2018-2019 fiscal year exceeded expectations.

Police, with ABC personnel, conducted operations at local businesses with alcohol licenses throughout the year, including minor decoy operations, shoulder tap operations, general enforcement, LEAD training and roll call training.

Minor decoy operations involve sending underage volunteers into businesses to try to buy alcohol. Within 12 months, the police department conducted seven operations and visited 149 alcohol retailers. Officers arrested 11 employees for selling to minors, and those arrested face a fine of up to $1,000.

Shoulder tap operations involve an underage volunteer asking an adult near a business with an alcohol license to buy alcohol for them. Officers conducted nine shoulder tap operations and arrested 40 people as a result. Volunteers contacted 200 people at 65 locations.

During general enforcement, officers look for people drinking alcohol in public near businesses and open areas. Watsonville police conducted 17 general enforcement operations and arrested 109 people.

LEAD training is alcohol-related law training for business owners and employees. The training stresses preventing sales to minors and intoxicated people. Police held two of these trainings, and 55 people from 17 businesses attended.

Roll call training provides information to officers about ABC laws. Thirty-eight officers received the training over the course of six sessions during the year.

Watsonville police say this year's operations are already underway.

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