By John Burton
TRENTON — The state’s Division of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) will again this summer be conducting its “Cops in Shops” initiative intended to prevent minors from purchasing alcohol or getting adults to buy it for them.
The program offers grants to participating police departments to have officers working undercover in retail establishments to stop underage purchases, or positioned outside of them to apprehend adults looking to make the purchases for minors.
According to the state’s Office of the Attorney General, 28 shore communities and their departments are participating this summer, including Belmar, Neptune Township, Neptune City and Spring Lake Heights, in Monmouth County.
The summer initiative is sponsored by the Century Council, a not-for-profit funded by alcohol distributors, and began in 1996. Last year the program resulted in 202 arrests in participating communities.
The ABC also conducts a year-round version of the initiative, with Monmouth County’s Red Bank and Middletown participating, funded by the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.