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Petaluma Police Department
Wednesday June 7th, 2023 :: 10:00 p.m. PDT


Decoy Operation Probes Tobacco Sales Compliance in Petaluma

                                                                                                                                                          PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release                                                                          Wednesday, June 7, 2023
Issued By:
Sgt. Rivera, Z., Petaluma PD, 707.778.4372, [email protected]

Incident:                 Decoy Operation Probes Tobacco Sales                                             Compliance in Petaluma
Occurred Date :     Wednesday, 7, 2023
Location:                Petaluma
Incident Summary
On Wednesday night, Petaluma PD initiated a decoy operation tasked with conducting compliance checks of tobacco vendors within the City of Petaluma. The efforts were in part funded by the Impact Sonoma Grant. During the operation, teenaged adult decoys, directed and supervised by PPD officers, visited seventeen (17) tobacco retail licensed businesses. The decoys attempted to purchase tobacco products from each vendor. A total of three (3) vendors sold tobacco to the underage decoys.
The purpose of these operations is to encourage tobacco retailers to check identifications and refuse to sell tobacco to minors and partner with our community to help keep California youth safe.
Decoy operations have been conducted by local law enforcement throughout the state since the 1980’s. When the program first began, the violation rate of retail establishments selling to minors was as high as 40 to 50 percent. When conducted on a routine basis, the rate has dropped in some cities as low as 10 percent or even below. The latest violation rate state-wide is almost 24 percent, or nearly one in five retail licensees selling to minors.
In 1994, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the use of underage decoys is a valid tool of law enforcement to ensure that liquor and tobacco licensees are complying with the law.
Media inquiries may be directed to Lt. Jeremy Walsh at [email protected] or phone 707-778-4372.

Petaluma Police Department
969 Petaluma Blvd N
Petaluma, CA 94952

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 707-778-4372

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