Santa Maria - North County

Are 'Shoulder Tap' operations entrapment?

10 local businesses cited during Shoulder Tap ops

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The Santa Barbara County Sheriffs Office cited 10 people for being alcohol for minors while they conducted "shoulder tap" operations last month. 

"Shoulder tap" is shorthand for using an underage decoy to entice adults to buy alcohol for them outside liquor stores. These operations are done routinely by police departments across the country, including the Santa Maria Police Department. 

The practice is not universally supported. While California made it law that departments can use minors to conduct alcohol enforcement in 1994, various civil liberty groups have called the operations entrapment. 

KCOY 12's Michael Colaianni spoke with the commander of Santa Maria Police departments alcohol enforcement unit on Thursday and will have a live report tonight at 5:00 and 6:00 on Central Coast News. Check back later for additional content and information.

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