press release - 02211701

Shoulder Tap and Minor Decoy Operations Results


Isla Vista- February 21st, 2017


As part of an effort to combat underage drinking, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office conducted “Shoulder Tap” and “Minor Decoy” operations on Friday, February 17 and Saturday, February 18, 2017 throughout Goleta, Isla Vista and additional unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County. During the two-day operation, underage minor decoys working under the direct supervision of Sheriff’s deputies and an Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) agent, visited 18 locations and cited four people for furnishing alcohol to minors. 


During a Shoulder Tap operation, the minor decoy will stand outside a liquor or convenience store and ask patrons to buy them alcohol. The minor indicates in some way that he or she is underage and cannot purchase the alcohol.  In a Minor Decoy operation, the minor will enter a bar, supermarket, liquor or convenience store and attempt to purchase alcoholic beverages from an employee. 


Of the four adults cited for furnishing alcohol to a minor, three of the violators were employees of local businesses and one was a patron of a liquor store. Last November during a similar Shoulder Tap/Minor Decoy Operation, five adults were cited for furnishing alcohol to minors. The penalty for furnishing alcohol to a minor is a minimum $1,000 fine and 24 hours of community service. 

The goal of operations such as these is to reduce the availability of alcohol to minors. According to the American Medical Association, underage drinking can increase chances of risky sexual behavior, teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, can compromise health and result in unintentional injury and death.


The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office uses grant funding from ABC to battle alcohol-related crime in the Isla Vista and Goleta areas that tend to have a higher percentage of these types of incidents due to the student population.  In addition to conducting operations such as this one, the grant funding is also utilized to educate both on-sale and off-sale establishments with the importance of operating within the restrictions of their ABC licenses.


For Media Inquires Contact PIO Kelly Hoover


Business Hours: (805) 681-4100

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