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California alcohol sales enforcers get heavy-duty protection

Published On: Dec 31 2012 08:34:19 AM CST
California State Capitol building


California's alcohol sales enforcers have gotten $70,000 worth of bullet-resistant vests, helmets and gas masks to protect them during undercover stings at bars, restaurants and retail establishments.
The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control says the equipment is essential for the safety of its 142 sworn agents.
Most agency arrests involve selling or giving alcoholic beverages to minors.
Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness tells the Sacramento Bee that ABC agents operate in various jurisdictions and local law enforcement is available as backup.
The agency doesn't track agent-involved shootings, but chief deputy director Tim Gorsuch says there have been five incidents in nine years. He didn't have details.
The department's $55 million budget relies on licensing fees from about 115,000 businesses that sell, import or manufacture alcohol.