Escalon Police Chief Mike Borges and Ripon Police Chief Ed Ormonde announced this past week that the Ripon and Escalon Police Departments have been awarded a $40,237 grant from the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to battle alcohol-related crime.
“This is important to the City of Ripon in order to increase protection for youth and to shut down problem locations that have contributed to an increase in crime,” Chief Ormonde said.
Borges, who told members of the Escalon City Council about the possibility of receiving the grant earlier this month, said he anticipated some of the funding will be used to do alcohol stings, using under age decoys to attempt to purchase alcohol.
He wants to see it used in an educational way, informing business owners of the need to enforce the identification checks required of those that appear to be under age and making sure they don’t allow alcohol sales to intoxicated patrons. While citations would also be possible under the program, Borges said the goal will be information, not necessarily prosecution.
The grant is one of 54 awarded in California to local law enforcement agencies through ABC’s Grant Assistance Program (GAP).
The grants strengthen local law enforcement efforts by combining the efforts of local police officers and ABC agents. ABC agents have expertise in alcoholic beverage laws and can help communities reduce alcohol-related problems.
“The program improves the quality of life in neighborhoods,” said Acting ABC Director Ramona Prieto. “We’ve seen a real difference in the communities where the grant program resources have been invested.”
The GAP Program was created in 1995 to strengthen partnerships between ABC and local law enforcement agencies. The program is designed to put bad operators out of business, keep alcohol away from minors and bring penalties such as fines, suspensions or revocations against businesses that violate the law.
The funds will be used to reduce the number of alcoholic beverage sales to minors, obviously intoxicated patrons, illegal solicitations of alcohol, and other criminal activities such as the sale and possession of illegal drugs.
The GAP Program has distributed over $20 million to local law enforcement to combat alcohol-related crime. ABC is a Department of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.
Borges, at the same council meeting where he discussed the potential shared grant with Ripon, said the Escalon department is also looking into a grant for an electric motorcycle that could be utilized for patrolling during such celebrations as Park Fete, Homecoming and other downtown events.
Times Editor Marg Jackson contributed to this report.