On February 22, 2014, the Tualatin Police, in conjunction with the OLCC, conducted minor decoy operations. Underage volunteers attempted to purchase alcohol at establishments in Tualatin. Out of 11 establishments visited, a total of three (3) sold alcohol to the minor decoy.
The goal of a minor decoy program is to reduce youth access to alcohol by encouraging licensees to verify that an individual purchasing alcohol is at least 21 years of age. The minors answer any questions about their age truthfully and do not use fake identification.
Sales clerks and servers who furnish alcohol to a minor are charged with a criminal penalty. A first conviction results in a $350 fine; second conviction, $1,000; third or subsequent conviction, $1,000 fine and not less than 30 days of imprisonment (ORS 471.410). For the noncompliant store/restaurant owner or licensee, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission may impose administrative sanctions with a maximum fine of $4,950 and a possible license suspension or revocation.
The operation was funded by a grant from the Washington County Health and Human Services. The minor decoy operations will continue through 2014 with the goal of achieving 100% compliance rate (no sales to youth) among Tualatin establishments. In addition to the minor decoy operation, Washington County Health and Human Services is also working with several local coalitions, such as Tualatin Together to prevent and disband unsafe social environments conducive to underage drinking. The groups hope to raise awareness about the dangers of binge and underage drinking, as well as discourage adults from providing alcohol for their kids and their kids’ friends.
“Many adults believe drinking is a harmless rite of passage. They may have no idea what is really happening at these underage parties,” says Rebecca Collett of Washington County Health and Human Services. “And even though data shows that most high school kids in Washington County are, in fact, not drinking, it’s still a serious problem with dangerous consequences.”