Lakeport Police Department receives ABC grant to reduce underage drinking and alcohol-related harm

In the fall of 2023, the Lakeport Police Department was selected to participate in a Grant sponsored by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The City of Lakeport City Council approved the Lakeport Police Department to enter into an agreement with ABC to receive an amount of $10,000.00.This Grant will be used to conduct Informed Merchants Preventing Alcohol-Related Crime Tendencies (IMPACT) inspections, Minor Decoy, Shoulder Tap, and Holiday Enforcement Operations. The Lakeport Police Department will use the grant funding to conduct these operations with the hope of gaining voluntary compliance through education with licensees (those selling alcohol) and members of the public in the City of Lakeport. Appropriate enforcement action will also be taken for crimes that occur or are discovered during these operations.The focus of this Grant is to reduce underage drinking, the resultant DUI driving injuries and fatalities, and/or property damages, and reduce youth access to alcoholic beverages through the education of licensees, enforcement intervention, and collaboration with ABC.These goals and objectives align with the core tenant of the Lakeport Police Department’s Mission Statement to provide a safe environment for those who live, work, and visit the City of Lakeport. The Department would like to thank the City Council, ABC, and California Office of Traffic Safety for their efforts in securing and providing funding for this project.

The Lakeport Police Department is among a group of California law enforcement agencies that have been selected to receive a portion of grant funding to help curb underage drinking and educate licensees about alcoholic beverage laws.

The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, or ABC, said it has been awarded a $3.7 million grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety.

It will use those funds to support 26 law enforcement agencies with up to $40,000 each for alcoholic beverage compliance check operations for licensees and delivery services to make sure only people of legal drinking age purchase alcohol, as well as enforcement throughout the state during holiday periods where people are more likely to be drinking alcohol.

“ABC is grateful for the partnership and support from OTS and NHTSA,” said ABC Director Joseph McCullough. “The resources provided to us through this grant will help reduce youth access to alcohol and increase safety in communities throughout California.”

At its Nov. 7 meeting, the Lakeport City Council approved Police Chief Brad Rasmussen’s request to enter into an agreement with ABC for the grant. Rasmussen said the city had requested $10,000.

The grant is important for Lakeport because, as Officer Todd Freitas — the Lakeport Police Department’s school resource officer noted — the city has approximately 34 licensees.

For the year to date at that point, Freitas said the police department had 100 arrests for alcohol-related statute violations alone, which doesn’t include those who became involved in fights while intoxicated.

He estimated that a quarter of the calls for service in Lakeport involve alcohol.

The funds will help the department meet its goals of voluntary compliance through education. A big part of the grant is working with merchants to follow the rules for alcohol sales.

It will also help address the problem of youth acquiring alcohol.

The grant will run through the end of September 2024. ABC programs funded through the grant include Minor Decoy and Shoulder Tap operations, fake identification enforcement, compliance checks involving alcohol delivery services, designated special events where alcohol is served, underage retail theft, Informed Merchants Preventing Alcohol-Related Crime Tendency (IMPACT) inspections, Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drug (LEAD) trainings and Target Responsibility for Alcohol-Connected Emergencies (TRACE) investigations.

In addition to Lakeport, the law enforcement agencies who have been selected by ABC to receive grant funding include the police departments for Corona, Costa Mesa, Davis, Emeryville, Escondido, Folsom, Gardena, Hermosa, Hollister, Milpitas, National City, Oxnard, Pasadena, Pomona, Redlands, Rio Del, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Sanger, Santa Maria, Soledad, Turlock and Westminser, and the sheriff’s offices for Riverside and Tulare counties.