5 Citations Issued for Isla Vista Shoulder Tap Operation

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Source: Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office

As part of an effort to combat underage drinking, on March 9, 2019, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Deputies participated in statewide Decoy Shoulder Tap Operation. This operation was funded by a 2018 California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) grant given to the Sheriff’s Office to conduct investigations and operations into alcohol related offenses. The goal of the operation was to raise awareness about the dangers of underage drinking and also to make it clear to any adults that buy alcohol to minors that there are serious consequences.

As part of the operation, deputies traveled to locations in the Isla Vista and Goleta areas in attempt to locate people willing to buy alcohol for minors. Deputies used a minor decoy (under the age of 21, but over the age of 18) to ask people in front of convenience/liquor stores if they would purchase alcohol for him/her. The decoy always told each subject contacted that he/she was under the age of 21 prior to the purchase. When subjects purchased alcohol for the minor, deputies would move in and issue the subject a citation for furnishing alcohol to a minor. 

During the operation, 67 people were contacted. Deputies issued five citations to people furnishing alcohol to a minor/decoy. Deputies also issued one citation to a minor for possessing alcohol. In all, nearly 70 Police and Sheriff’s Departments in California cited 361 individuals during the statewide underage drinking enforcement operation. 

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office uses grant funding from ABC to battle alcohol-related crime in the Isla Vista and Goleta, areas which tend to have a higher percentage of these types of incidents. In addition to conducting operations such as this one, the grant funding is also utilized to educate both on-sale and off-sale establishments with the importance of operating within the restrictions of their ABC licenses.

“Unfortunately over 4,000 young people die in alcohol-related tragedies every year in this country,” said ABC Director Jacob Appelsmith. “This collaborative effort among California peace officers creates awareness to underage drinking issues, increases public safety for communities and also boosts protections for California’s young people.” 

ABC protects communities through excellence in education and by administering prevention and enforcement programs designed to increase compliance with California’s alcoholic beverage laws. 

ABC’s mission is to provide the highest level of service and public safety through licensing, education and enforcement. To learn more about ABC programs that help protect communities, prevent alcohol-related harm and potentially save lives visit https://www.abc.ca.gov/programs/programs_PE.html. ABC is a Department of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency. 

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buckwheat Mar 13, 2019 07:55 PM
5 Citations Issued for Isla Vista Shoulder Tap Operation

If the "goal of the operation" is to educate the public, then why issue a citation? Why not simply shame the offender? I'm curious who they are using as a decoy. Is it a hot coed who tries to convince the offender that by buying the coed alcohol there might be some benefits plowing the purchase?

Red Creek Mar 12, 2019 01:52 PM
5 Citations Issued for Isla Vista Shoulder Tap Operation

"Entrapment", is "the action of tricking someone into committing a crime in order to secure their prosecution." Wouldn't "this style of investigation" constitute entrapment, although noone is coerced ot forced to buy alcohol?

jqb Mar 13, 2019 07:34 AM
5 Citations Issued for Isla Vista Shoulder Tap Operation

No, Red Creek, that is not entrapment. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/entrapment-basics-33987.html "The key aspect of entrapment is this: Government agents do not entrap defendants simply by offering them an opportunity to commit a crime. Judges expect people to resist any ordinary temptation to violate the law. An entrapment defense arises when government agents resort to repugnant behavior such as the use of threats, harassment, fraud, or even flattery to induce defendants to commit crimes."

a-1558848203 Mar 12, 2019 01:56 PM
5 Citations Issued for Isla Vista Shoulder Tap Operation

RED Creek good point, but not necessarily. Classic entrapment is like this - Cops show up to a house party and see someone really drunk on the front lawn. They call from the sidewalk/street to the person to come over to them, and then arrest them for being drunk in public. Having an undercover cop (teenage snitch) asking people to buy liquor is not as "tricky" because they're not being forced to commit a crime, unlike the poor drunk person being commanded to come out to the street (public property).

PitMix Mar 12, 2019 01:05 PM
5 Citations Issued for Isla Vista Shoulder Tap Operation

Check out the story below where they did this in Santa Maria. That story says the people that bought alcohol for minors were arrested, not cited. Is that the difference between how they treat offenders in a latino community like Santa Maria and a younger mostly caucasian community in Isla Vista?

GeneralTree Mar 12, 2019 12:56 PM
5 Citations Issued for Isla Vista Shoulder Tap Operation

These operations are just a waste of time and money. As soon as the police leave they start up again. You are better off putting the money in education, engaging the places that sell alcohol, and other enforcement. These stings have been going on since I was a kid 40 years ago and never bring results other than a quick revenue gain.

ktnoodle1 Mar 12, 2019 12:57 PM
5 Citations Issued for Isla Vista Shoulder Tap Operation

The general definition of minor is a person under the age of full legal responsibility. In this scenario the police explicitly declare what the term minor is in relation to this operation. It is in no way misleading on their part, as technically a person under 18 is a juvenile.

a-1558848203 Mar 12, 2019 12:05 PM
5 Citations Issued for Isla Vista Shoulder Tap Operation

Mmhmm. Especially because the decoys they use are NOT children, they are 20 years old. They are not minors but the press release makes up its own definition to be able to call them that - WTF? The legal definition of a minor, in California, is someone under 18. It's all very manipulative in my opinion. For the record, I'm not saying the people who fell for it aren't wrong.

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