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East County News Service

March 18, 2016 (La Mesa) -- In July of 2015, the La Mesa Police Department was awarded a $34,363 grant from the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to battle alcohol related crime.  This week, the department issued an update on decoy operations, inspections and arrests as a result of the grant funding.

“This is important to the City of La Mesa in order to increase protection for youth and to keep our community safe,” a press release issued by LMPD states. 

The grant is one of 44 awarded in California to local law enforcement agencies through ABC’s Grant Assistance Program (GAP). The grants strengthen local law enforcement efforts by combining the efforts of local police officers and ABC agents to help communities reduce alcohol related problems.

On March 12, 2016, a Shoulder Tap Operation was conducted in the City of La Mesa. During this operation, minor decoys were used to stand outside of convenience stores and solicit customers to buy them alcohol. If the customer agreed and furnished the minor decoy with alcohol, undercover officers would make an arrest. During this operation, seven La Mesa convenience store locations were visited and 22 customer contacts were made by the minor decoys. Two arrests were made for furnishing alcohol to a minor.

In addition to the Shoulder Tap Operation, La Mesa Detectives and ABC Agents have made 31 inspections of La Mesa liquor stores and establishments that serve alcohol to insure their compliance with California laws and safety regulations.

In an effort to keep our community and our youth safe, the La Mesa Police Department and ABC will continue these types of operations through July of 2016, the department indicates.