Police and ABC conduct minor decoy operation

Published on July 27, 2022

Menlo Park, Calif. — On July 26, 2022, Menlo Park police officers and agents of the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) conducted a minor decoy operation.  Officers and agents visited eight retail licensees in the City of Menlo Park and are pleased to announce none of these businesses furnished alcohol to the minor decoys.

If a clerk were to sell to the minor, they would face a minimum fine of $250, and/or 24 to 32 hours of community service for a first violation.  In addition, ABC will pursue administrative action against the alcoholic beverage license of the business where alcohol was sold to a minor.  That may include a fine, a suspension of the license, or the permanent revocation of the license.

ABC is conducting the compliance checks statewide 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 to as low as 10 percent or even below.

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 Alcoholic Beverage Control through the department’s Alcohol Policing Partnership Program.

ABC is a Department of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.


Officer Galen Fliege