2 arrested in 'Shoulder Tap' operation in Redlands

Suspects accused of furnishing alcohol to minors

2 arrested in 'Shoulder Tap' operation in Redlands

REDLANDS, Calif. – In a collaborative effort aimed at curbing underage drinking, the Redlands Police Department (RPD) and agents from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) arrested two individuals on Saturday, March 9, for allegedly furnishing alcoholic beverages to minors.

Why it matters: Data has shown that young people under 21 have a higher risk of being involved in a crash than older drivers. About 25% of fatal crashes involve underage drinking, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Details: The Shoulder Tap initiative targets adults purchasing alcohol for individuals under the legal drinking age of 21. Under the direct supervision of law enforcement, a minor stands outside a liquor or convenience store and asks customers to buy alcohol on their behalf. The minor explicitly states their underage status and inability to make the purchase themselves.

Individuals who agree to purchase alcohol for minors faced arrest and citation for furnishing alcohol to a minor. The penalty includes a minimum $1,000 fine and 24 hours of community service.

In addition to the arrests, local law enforcement and ABC agents cited a store clerk for allegedly selling alcohol to a minor on Friday, March 8. During the Minor Decoy operation, minors under the direct supervision of department agents, tried to purchase alcohol from 10 retail licensees in Redlands.

The operations demonstrate the serious consequences for adults who buy alcohol for minors.

What they're saying: In a statement echoing concerns over community safety, Chief of Police Rachel Tolber underscored the detrimental effects of underage drinking, emphasizing the urgent need for measures to curb its prevalence.

"Underage drinking negatively impacts our community. Preventing the sale of alcohol to minors will help to increase public safety and make our roads safer," said Tolber.

Zoom out: Redlands Police Department was one of 50 local law enforcement agencies that partnered with ABC agents during the March operation. The state-wide effort resulted in citations for 159 individuals who allegedly furnished alcoholic beverages to minors.

Moving forward: Local non-profit Healthy East Valley (HEV) is teaming up with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to bring to light the issue of underage drinking this month.

HEV will host Cheryl McMahen, Program Manager from MADD California-Inland Empire as the guest speaker during this month's coalition meeting to discuss MADD's prevention efforts in the community.

The meeting will take place on Friday, March 15 from 10 am to 11:30 am at The Hall behind Theron's Marketplace at 122 Cajon Street, Redlands, CA 92373. All are welcome to attend. More information can be found here.

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