Jul 28, 2014

San Rafael teen gives back by helping SRPD ensure merchant responsibility

San Rafael teen gives back by helping SRPD ensure merchant responsibility San Rafael teen gives back by helping SRPD ensure merchant responsibility San Rafael teen gives back by helping SRPD ensure merchant responsibility

Our community stores contribute to our well being. Our children deserve to live in healthy communities free from harmful influences of the alcohol industry. Minor Decoy programs, run by the San Rafael Police Department’s Alcohol Compliance Team (SRPD ACT), help to hold merchants accountable to preventing youth access to alcohol by ensuring they sell responsibly. The goal of a minor decoy program is to reduce youth access to alcohol by encouraging store merchants and business owners 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. If a store or business does sell to a minor they receive a citation from SRPD. The operation is funded by the Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant (SPF SIG), one of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s grant programs. This grant also funds other SR ACT enforcement activities such as bar walk-thrus in downtown San Rafael and juvenile party patrols in Marin neighborhoods.

SR ACT is excited to be partnering with Marin County Health & Human Services with their Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community campaign.  Statewide public health officials, tobacco prevention, nutrition and alcohol prevention partners will be working in collaboration to improve the health of Californians by educating them on how these unhealthy products are promoted to youth and influence behaviors that can lead to obesity, chronic diseases and even death. SR ACT’s contribution to this project is through their enforcement activities specifically with the Minor Decoy program.

In a recent interview, 19 year old SRPD Minor Decoy program participant Daisy, explains why she volunteers her time to the SR ACT Team to help create a healthier store community in San Rafael. 

Q. How did you become involved in SRPD’s Minor Decoy program?

A. My sister has worked with SRPD’s Sgt. Scott Eberle and shared with him how I wanted to give back to my local Marin community through volunteering with SRPD. She connected me to Sgt. Eberle and SRPD’s San Rafael Alcohol Compliance Team (SR ACT). I learned that I would volunteer as a minor decoy in SR ACT’s enforcement activities to make sure store owners are selling alcohol responsibly. I started volunteering in January 2014, and never looked back.

Q. Why is it important to you that alcohol is sold responsibly?
A. We (youth) think we are mature, and think we can handle alcohol but we can’t. We don’t necessarily know when to stop or know what our limits are. We have a tendency to try to outdo ourselves like we are unstoppable or invincible, but we are not. Adults don’t realize that alcohol is harmful to young people and will sell just to earn the dollar profit. Alcohol can impair decision making in young people and make us act reckless. Store owners, and their adult customers, need to set the example and role model for young people to be responsible, or else we won’t. Adults must lead by example.

Q. Why do you stay active and involved in the minor decoy program?
It is important for our community to take action. Underage drinking is a huge problem and if stores are selling to young people then it needs to be stopped. I stay involved in the minor decoy program, so I can help adults who sell alcohol understand why it is important to sell responsibly.

Q. How can other young people become involved in the minor decoy program?
A.I am excited you asked me this question! If we have more operations with more minor decoys then we would have a better way of knowing if store owners really sell responsibly. I feel that certain store owners can start recognizing me, so it would be great to have other young people to step up and become involved.  Interested minors ages 16-20 years old can contact SRPD’s Sgt. Scott Eberle at 475@srpd.org.

Q. What are some of your favorite experiences as a decoy?
A. Smart & Final: Previously, they were cited because they sold to me. Most recently, they did not sell because they improved their selling practices and actually carded me, which was great.
Liquor store: The actual owner of the store sold to me the first time and he even looked at the age on my I.D. & his age chart (a tool to quickly determine appropriate buying age). His son was mad he sold to me and they received a citation for it. The next time I walked in and tried to purchase, he did not sell to me. He expressed that he and his father learned their lesson & made sure all of their employees knew the responsible selling practices.

Q. What is your vision for a healthier San Rafael?
My vision is everyone getting involved to help reduce youth access to alcohol by taking the time to get to know community issues, awareness, and education around it. When store owners take responsibility of not selling youth tobacco and alcohol, we will have a healthier community because of it.

We still have more work to do when it comes to the fight against youth access to alcohol & tobacco in Marin and it’s important to remember we’re in this together. By working together, we can make healthy changes happen at home, at work, at school, and in our neighborhoods. SR ACT is proud to be a community partner of the Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community program in Marin County.

To learn more about the SRPD SR ACT Minor Decoy program: Sgt. Scott Eberle - 475@srpd.org

To learn more about Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community: www.HealthyStoresHealthyCommunity.com

Learn more about the Social Host Ordinance

English -  http://www.scribd.com/doc/180037937/FINAL-ACT-palm-card-pdf

Spanish -  http://www.scribd.com/doc/189075792/ACT-Palm-Card-en-Espanol-in-Spanish

The San Rafael Alcohol Compliance Team (ACT) has been created through a partnership with the San Rafael Police Department and the Marin County Department of Health & Human Services to reduce underage and excessive drinking in youth ages 12 – 25.

For more information please visit & LIKE San Rafael ACT today

Stay tuned for more information on ACT and how you can get involved!

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