News Story


Countywide - Deputies participate in enforcement programs to reduce underage drinking
7/19/2012 2:45:00 AM


Nature of Incident:

Sheriff's Office used Alcoholic Beverage Control grant to reduce underage drinking

Report Number:



Various locations throughout Ventura County

Date & Time:

July 18, 2012

Unit Responsible:

Ventura County Sheriff's Office

(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (D)ecedent

City of Residence






In July of 2011, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office was awarded a $65,000.00 grant from the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC).    The primary goal of the grant was to reduce underage consumption of, and access to, alcohol.


Funding from this grant was applied to all locations within the Sheriff's Office's patrol areas, which includes all unincorporated areas and the Cities of Ojai, Fillmore, Camarillo, Moorpark, and Thousand Oaks.  The grant operational period ran over a one year period of time and concluded June 30, 2012.


During the course of the year, deputies from the Sheriff's Office worked closely with investigators from ABC.  The grant funding provided equipment to enhance the deputies' ability to conduct alcohol investigations and it also provided overtime funding for the following operations:


Fifty five (55) ABC licensed establishments in the County were inspected to ensure compliance with State law and to remind licensees of the responsibilities and accountability associated with the sale of alcoholic beverages. The primary objective of the inspections was to educate licensees about the various ways they can participate in reducing alcohol sales to underage persons.

Three (3) 'Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs' (LEAD) training sessions were held.  The LEAD Program is a free, voluntary prevention and education program for retail licensees, their employees and applicants.  During the three training sessions, 89 servers from 21 ABC licensed establishments throughout the County participated in the training provided by an ABC trainer.  The mission of the LEAD Program is to provide high quality, effective and educationally sound training on alcohol responsibility and the law to California retail licensees and their employees.  The LEAD Program provides the licensee, employees, and applicants with practical information on serving alcoholic beverages safely, responsibly, and legally.

Ventura County Sheriff's Office employees were provided with training on the various means for recognizing fake identification.  ABC presented the training to 70 deputies and professional staff from all stations within the Sheriff's Office jurisdiction.


Roll call trainings were conducted during 22 separate briefings at all of the Sheriff's Office's patrol stations.  Two hundred twenty (220) officers were trained on various ABC programs.


Six (6) Minor Decoy operations were conducted in all locations within the Sheriff's Office's patrol area.  Underage decoys attempted to purchase alcohol at 130 retail establishments.  Eighteen (18) locations sold alcohol to the decoys.  Of the 18 locations that sold to the decoy, 9 asked for identification and then sold to the decoy even though the decoy presented his/her true identification, clearly showing he/she was less than 21 years of age.


Seven (7) Shoulder Tap operations were conducted.  A method frequently used by minors to obtain alcohol is to stand outside of a liquor store or market and ask adults to buy them the alcohol.  A 'Shoulder Tap' operation utilizes minor decoys to repeat this method.  The decoys clearly tell the adults contacted they are not old enough to purchase alcohol and ask the adults to purchase the alcohol for them.  In total, 156 people were contacted in front of 20 different liquor stores and 14 people were arrested for purchasing alcohol for the decoys.


Four (4) Trap Door operations were conducted at four restaurant establishments licensed through the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).  During the operations, deputies worked undercover as employees of the establishments.  The deputies were assisted by investigators from ABC and were targeting minors who were attempting to purchase alcoholic beverages by presenting false identification.  The owners/employees of the establishments cooperated fully with the investigation.  Over the course of the year, 990 individuals were checked and six arrests were made for possession of fake or borrowed identification.


Two undercover operations were conducted at a Thousand Oaks establishment during their '18 and Over Night'.  The focus of the operation was to determine if patrons over 21 years of age were either sharing alcohol or purchasing alcohol for those less than 21 years of age.  The operations yielded eight fake identification arrests, four arrests for furnishing alcohol to underage persons, and seven arrests for minor in possession of alcohol.


Another goal of the grant was the deployment of patrol cars focusing on driving under the influence violations (DUI Cars).  Seventeen (17) DUI cars were deployed during the grant operational period.  In all, the DUI cars made 207 traffic stops, 24 Field Sobriety Tests were conducted and 8 DUI arrests were made.  One driver was arrested for outstanding warrants and another was arrested for being a minor in possession of marijuana and alcohol.  Thirty three (33) citations were issued for other violations. 


Although not an original goal of the grant, three 'Party Patrol' operations were conducted.  These operations consisted of two patrol units staffed with two deputies each.  The Sheriff's Communication Center dispatched only party calls to these 'Party Patrol' units.  The focus of the units was to enforce the Thousand Oaks City and Ventura County Social Host ordinances and minor in possession of alcohol laws.  In total, the units responded to 22 party calls and documented contacts with 51 people.  Two people were cited for violating the Social Host ordinance, one in Thousand Oaks and one in Oak Park.  Another individual was cited for urinating in public.


Deputy Preparing Media Release:

Sergeant Romano Bassi

Media Release Date:

July 18, 2012

Follow-Up Contact:

Sergeant Romano Bassi (805) 449-2760

Approved by:

Captain Bill Ayub