$35,000 grant for police may help reduce underage drinking

FRESNO, Calif.

A special team is inspecting local businesses to keep them from selling alcohol to minors.

The past few years' Clovis police faced budget cuts that put a strain on the department, but starting the end of July they will have new resources to catch minors drinking.

Victoria Flores, with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, spends her weekends trying to raise awareness that driving drunk kills.

"Three years ago our son rick was killed by a drunk driver, when he was killed I realized there was nothing we could do. He was gone," Flores said.

On Saturday afternoon Flores was thrilled about a new grant, which gives Clovis Police a chance to arrest more people breaking the law.

"It makes me extremely happy that they are going to use that money to crack down on liquor stores and anyone selling alcohol," Flores said.

A special team of officers is targeting underage drinkers. They are looking for anyone under 21 who buys liquor from local stores. Investigators also plan to use several tactics to zone in on the stores supplying the alcohol.

"One is minor decoy programs where we will send minors into businesses that we suspect are selling alcohol to minors," said Sgt. Vincent Weibert with the Clovis Police.

The program is made possible because of a $35,000 grant from the State's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Last year the department caught about 150 minors for possession of alcohol or controlled substances. Authorities say those law breakers are putting everyone around them at risk.

"Every weekend we will get calls for service where parents are out of town and kids are drinking alcohol and causing problems in the neighborhood," Weibert said.

Officers say any businesses owners who are found selling alcohol to minors are at risk of losing their liquor license. If you suspect someone is buying or selling alcohol to anyone underage, you are asked to call police.

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