SANTA MONICA—On February 22, the Santa Monica Police Department employed the Decoy “Shoulder Tap” Operation on four different alcohol retail establishments to find adults who knowingly purchased alcohol for minors.

The Decoy “Shoulder Tap” Operation is utilized by law enforcement in California in response to the practice of minors asking adults to buy them alcohol by “shoulder tapping” them outside liquor stores and bars. When it was approved by the California Supreme Court for police to use minors in catching store owners who sell alcohol to those underage, the practice of “shoulder tapping” older customers became an epidemic. According to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, as much as 46 percent of all minors who drink obtain alcohol by asking others outside of stores to purchase it for them.

Authorities are using minors as “decoys” and utilizing this method outside stores while under the supervision of law enforcement. Those who fall for the decoy and buy the alcohol are arrested. The purpose of this practice is to reduce the drinking of those underage as well as to alert the public of the issue.

When the operation was used on February 22, the undercover minor spoke to a total of 33 people, and no individuals violated the law.