El Cajon enforces strictest alcohol control law in state

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EL CAJON, Calif.  – The city of El Cajon has begun enforcing a strict alcohol sales law, which targets stores selling alcohol to minors.

The ordinance known as "Deemed Approved Ordinance" was passed in 2013 and allows the city of El Cajon to revoke or restrict liquor licenses if a business sells some to minor or a drunk person.

In the past year, El Cajon police have conducted sting operations by sending minor decoys to businesses in an attempt to buy alcohol.  The operations resulted in the arrests of 15 store clerks.  In three cases, the clerks had a previous record of selling to minors.

Three businesses, including Sky Fuel, Tykes Liquor and Arnele Liquor, were repeat offenders, according to El Cajon police Chief Jim Redman.  Owners of the stores were expected to go before the city’s planning commission and possibly city council to see if their alcohol licenses would be restricted. Sky Fuel was expected to be the first store be to reviewed Tuesday night.

Chief Redman said the new ordinance has been making a difference.

“It contributes to public nuisance crimes involving people who get drunk and cause problems whether it’s vandalism, or petty theft. We believe the public nuisance crimes that residents complain about are directly related to alcohol sales," said Redman.

The number of public intoxication arrests and minors possessing alcohol decreased since 2012, Redman said.  In 2012, 526 arrests of public drunkenness and 20 minors were caught with alcohol.

"In 2014, we saw a reduction of 34 percent in sales related to public drunkenness and a 93 percent reduction of minors in possession of alcohol - that’s huge,” Redman said. “It’s a good thing the retail owners are following the rules, there are some that aren’t and those are the ones we’re going to go after.”

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