On January 21, 2015 Police Officers of the Azusa Police Department along with Investigators of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) cited a clerk for selling alcohol to a minor. The actions were the result of a minor decoy operation in which minors under the direct supervision of the police officers, attempted to purchase alcohol from ten retail licensees in the City of Azusa.
Anyone who sells alcohol to minors face a minimum fine of $250, and/or 24 to 32 hours of community service for a first violation. In addition, ABC will take administrative action against the business's alcohol license. That may include a fine, a suspension of the license, or the permanent revocation of the license.
The Azusa Police Department is conducting the compliance checks city-wide 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 lower. 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 Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.