Alcohol sales enforcers get heavy-duty protection

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A newspaper investigation has found the state agency that regulates alcohol sales has purchased more than $70,000 worth of bullet-resistant helmets and gas masks for its officers although the nature of their work rarely exposes them to gunfire.

The Sacramento Bee reported on Monday that most arrests by Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control agents from July 2010 to March 2012 involved selling or giving alcoholic beverages to minors.

The department says the equipment is essential to the safety of its 132 agents — who are law enforcement officers.

The agency doesn’t track agent-involved shootings, but chief deputy director Tim Gorsuch recalled five incidents in nine years.

The department’s $55 million budget relies on licensing fees from about 115,000 businesses that sell, import or manufacture alcohol.

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