Purchase of Alcohol for Minors Put to Test with Stoughton Police "Shoulder Tap" Operation
The Stoughton Police Department conducted a "Shoulder Tap" operation Thursday night, where underage volunteers asked adults to purchase alcohol for them. 92.8-percent of attempts were declined - encouraging, but still a lower rate than in past years.
The Stoughton Police Department, partnering with OASIS (Organizing Against Substances in Stoughton) conducted a "shoulder tap" operation Thursday evening, where underage volunteers were stationed outside of liquor stores in town asking adults to buy them alcohol, according to a SPD release.
The overwhelming majority of adults refused.
According to the release, 110 people were approached, with 102 refusing - a 92.8-percent success rate. The eight who agreed were not arrested; that wasn't the purpose of the operation, Executive Officer Robert Devine said.
No alcohol was ever purchased for a minor, Devine said. If the adult agreed, he or she was met by an undercover Stoughton Police officer and handed a "Yes" card and had the consequences of their action explained to them. Those who refused received a "No" card thanking them for their actions, while also explaining the alcohol laws and consequences for buying underage, according to the release.
Both cards warned adults that if they supply alcohol to minors they may be fined up to $2,000, spend a year in a house of corrections and lose their license for 180 days. The cards also gave statistics about the developmental perils of underage drinking.
Devine said the results were "encouraging and disappointing at the same time."
While the success rate was still over 90-percent, Devine said eight was a "staggering number," nearly double the usual total of 4-5, which equates to a 95-97% success rate, according to the release.
"It just shows we still have a little bit of work to do," Devine said. "[We] want to push it back up close to 100%."
Still, Devine said he was encouraged by a lot of adults, who he said didn't just refuse, but appeared appalled or offended that a minor would ask them to purchase alcohol on their behalf.
"A lot of good people are out there trying to do the right thing," Devine said.