For the past two years, the Santa Monica Police Department and community members from the coalition Santa Monica Against Underage Drinking (SMAUD) have worked together to implement educational and enforcement programs on the prevention of underage drinking in the City of Santa Monica.

The project sought to reduce teen access to alcohol by enforcing underage drinking laws, promoting alcohol-free events and developing policies to keep teens safe and sober.

Santa Monica police said the collaborative effort was made possible through a grant funded by the Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Community Trials Initiative.

The City of Santa Monica was one of 36 intervention cities from five states selected to participate.

As part of the Santa Monica Against Underage Drinking program, the Santa Monica Police Department and the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control conducted compliance checks at 59 businesses licensed to sell alcoholic beverages in the city.

An alcohol compliance check is a law enforcement operation involving the use of underage buyers to test an off-sale retail establishment’s compliance with laws regarding the sale of alcohol to persons under the age of 21.

An off-sale alcohol outlet is one with a license to sell alcohol for off-premise consumption. If the establishment was found to be non-compliant with the purchase age law, a citation was issued.

Since 2004, there were 219 citywide compliance checks on off-sale alcohol outlets. Of those checks, there were 27 violations.

As part of the educational process, officers from the Vice Unit and the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control provided Alcohol Awareness Responsibility Training to both on-sale and off-sale licensees.

The objectives of the program included:

n providing an understanding of current laws governing Alcohol Beverage Control retail establishments;

n developing a better working relationship within the community through responsible retail operations;

n reducing the availability of alcoholic beverages to underage individuals; and

n enhancing the availability of retailers to detect false or fraudulent identifications.

Information, Santa Monica Police Department Vice Unit, (310) 458-8458.

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