By Rolinda Espinoza
The Corona Police Department began putting to use a $51,000 grant awarded to them by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control on June 9.
The ABC grant aims to reduce alcohol access for minors while creating a safer community in Corona.
“By keeping alcohol out of the hands of anyone under 21, it keeps the community safer as a whole,” said officer Maxwell Medeiros of the Corona Police Department’s Vice, Narcotics, Gang and Intelligence unit.
A recent impact inspection took place involving 20 different businesses in the city of Corona.
Officers spoke with the owners and employees of the stores and adequately checked the licenses of the businesses.
“The mission of the Alcohol Policing Partnership Program is to work with law enforcement agencies to develop an effective, comprehensive and strategic approach to eliminate the crime and public nuisance associated with alcoholic beverage outlets” ABC’s website states.
The ABC works closely with police departments to provide training and enforcement strategies that assist in reducing alcohol-related problems in communities.
The Corona Police Department has one year to send the awarded grant money to different operations for the cause.
Medeiros’ primary concern is minors’ poor judgment when consuming alcohol and proceeding to drive while intoxicated. He insisted the grant is about keeping the entire city safe.
“When these individuals consume alcohol and get behind the wheel of a car, it puts the entire community in danger.” Medeiros said.
Medeiros said patrol officers come across alcohol-related crimes multiple times a day in Corona. Overconsumption of alcohol is a massive problem within the community, he said.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that youth ages 12 to 20 are more likely to binge drink. Since minors have limited access, they are consuming less often than adults, but are more prone to binge drinking when they can. Problems related to alcohol that minors can face are injuries, impared judgment and increased chances for alcohol dependence later in life.
Based on reports between 2006 and 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that, on average, alcohol is a factor in the deaths of 4,358 youths every year.
Officers will use enforcement operations in the attempt to curb teenage alcohol-related deaths.
Some of the different options include impact inspections at bars, restaurants and anywhere else that sells alcohol. Officers will go out to business owners and inform them of what to look for such as fake IDs or overservice.
Officers under the age of 21 will play minor decoys that attempt to buy alcohol. They will make arrests or educate the individual on the dangers of selling to minors in the event of a successful buy. The businesses caught in violation will also be set on a watchlist.
The grant was also awarded to Corona back in 2018.
“I was a part of that grant as well,.” Medeiros said. “It had a similar focus and we did very similar styles of operation. I saw it definitely had a positive impact on the community.”