A city in San Diego County begins enforcing what's considered one of the strictest alcohol control laws in the state of California.
For the first time, El Cajon’s new alcohol control ordinance (officially called “Deemed Approved Ordinance or DAO”) will be put to use Tuesday.
Passed in 2013, the ordinance gives the city the ability to restrict or revoke alcohol sale privileges in El Cajon if the business sells alcohol to a minor or a drunk customer.
“It holds these stores accountable. It keeps alcohol out of the hands of children. It also keep alcohol out of the hands of serial inebriates,” El Cajon Police Chief Jim Redman told NBC 7.
In the past year, El Cajon police arrested 15 clerks for selling alcohol to a minor. For three of those clerks, it wasn’t their first time.
Chief Redman said those stores include Tykes Liquor on Jamacha Road, Arnele Liquor on Arnele Avenue and Sky Fuel on East Main Street.
NBC 7 visited each business Monday and has not heard back from any of the owners.
Since the three businesses are repeat offenders, they are expected to go before the city’s Planning Commission and possibly City Council to see if alcohol sales restriction or revocation need to be implemented.
Sky Fuel will be the first business to go through this process.
The city’s Planning Commission is expected to discuss its case Tuesday evening at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers. If restrictions or revocation is recommended, the decision will go before City Council. The business is allowed to appeal the decision.
Chief Redman said the new ordinance has been making a difference. In 2012, in El Cajon, there were 526 public drunkenness arrests, 148 drinking in public arrests and 29 minor with alcohol arrests. The alcohol control ordinance was passed in 2013. Then in 2014, El Cajon saw all those numbers drop to 344 public drunkenness arrests, 109 drinking in public arrests and two minor with alcohol arrests
“We don’t want our children in El Cajon to have access to alcohol at least from liquor stores. That’s something we can address,” said Chief Redman.
City officials say it’s the first ordinance of its kind in San Diego County and one of the strictest laws regarding alcohol sales in the state.