Sting operations target underage drinking

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's office announced Tuesday that it will be cracking down on underage drinking throughout the county with a series of operations through June.

Sgt. Don Morrissey said his department has been targeting underage drinking for the past year with two types of sting operations.

In "shoulder tap" operations an undercover officer posing as a minor asks an adult over 21 to purchase an alcoholic beverage for them. In "minor decoy purchase" operations a decoy posing as a minor enters an establishment and attempts to purchase alcohol.

The Sheriff's Office has conducted 109 "shoulder tap" stings and arrested 16 people as a result of the sting this year.

Establishments where clerks sell alcohol to minors can have their licenses revoked by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Individuals who purchase alcohol for a minor can face fines of up to $1,000 and 24 hours of community service, Morrissey said.

— Bay City News Service


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Posted by Antoher Visual Sound-Byte
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2008 at 10:12 am

If the cops are really concerned about underaged drinking, what about creating a hot-line so that neighbors can report parties where teens congregate--so that the cops can send agents to wander through the party looking for violations of law--and then call in the squad cars when booze has been spotted?

Or what about random locker checks at the high schools and middle schools. The newspapers are full of letters to the editors from people reporting teen drinking on the school campuses. Why shouldn't the police take these reports seriously and inspect those lockers?

Since the police seem only trying to target sellers--and not buyers--this is just another photo-op for poorly tasked police resources.

Like this comment
Posted by julie
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 26, 2008 at 1:22 pm

The best evidence shows that teaching kids to drink responsibly is better than shutting them off entirely from it,” he told me. “You want to introduce your kids to it, and get across the point that that this is to be enjoyed but not abused.”

He said that the most dangerous day of a young person’s life is the 21st birthday, when legality is celebrated all too fervently. Introducing wine as a part of a meal, he said, was a significant protection against bingeing behavior.

What is the evidence? In 1983, Dr. George E. Vaillant, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard University, published “The Natural History of Alcoholism,” a landmark work that drew on a 40-year survey of hundreds of men in Boston and Cambridge.

Dr. Vaillant compared 136 men who were alcoholics with men who were not. Those who grew up in families where alcohol was forbidden at the table, but was consumed away from the home, apart from food, were seven times more likely to be alcoholics that those who came from families where wine was served with meals but drunkenness was not tolerated.

He concluded that teenagers should be taught to enjoy wine with family meals, and 25 years later Dr. Vaillant stands by his recommendation. “The theoretical position is: driving a car, shooting a rifle, using alcohol are all dangerous activities,” he told me, “and the way you teach responsibility is to let parents teach appropriate use.”

“If you are taught to drink in a ceremonial way with food, then the purpose of alcohol is taste and celebration, not inebriation,” he added. “If you are forbidden to use it until college then you drink to get drunk.”Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Watch Dog
a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Sheriff Laurie Smith is doing this to distract attention from a problem of her doing.

She employed a deputy that recently killed two people and seriously injured a third.

This tragedy is underscored by the fact that the sheriffs department whisked this deputy away from the scene of the accident. To parts unknown. Did this deputy have a past problem with drink?

Sheriff Laurie Smith says she takes full responsibility for this accident. Well then: Sheriff Smith where is the blood test of this officer? Was it done in a timely manner, and was the chain of custody proper?

One more thing Sheriff Laurie Smith you may take responsibility but it is the property tax payers of Santa Clara county that have to suffer the financial loss of your irresponsibility.

Like this comment
Posted by Ed
a resident of another community
on Apr 2, 2008 at 11:54 am


Did you expect the Deputy to stay at the scene and have his "nose rubbed" in the tragedy like a dog?? Give me a break!

Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2008 at 12:13 pm

Give parents the legal ability to teach their kids to drink alcohol responsibly at home, to not drink and drive, and to not hide from the issue and we will do much better. Bring the legal drinking age down to 18 when most are still living with their parents and do not criminalise a family occasion where giving a drink to a 16 year old is part of their education, and we will have a better transition into how to drink responsibly as adults.

Like this comment
Posted by D
a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2008 at 11:22 pm

Drop the public drinking age to 18 and allow celebrational drinking at home for families celebrating special occasions. One small glass of wine with dinner in celebrations is NOT going to do any harm to a sixteen year old! It might even teach them to drink responsibly!

Like this comment
Posted by just me
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 9, 2008 at 6:50 pm

"If the cops are really concerned about underaged drinking, what about creating a hot-line so that neighbors can report parties where teens congregate--so that the cops can send agents to wander through the party looking for violations of law--and then call in the squad cars when booze has been spotted?"

I think they have a number. 9-1-1. And if you think Sheriff Laurie Smith would spend the money on "agents" on call for anything you've sadly over rated how seriously she takes public safety. You call 9-1-1 you get the patrol guys. If the party is that serious as to pose a disturbance, they can show up and investigate any problems, including under age drinking.

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