The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) today awarded the largest ABC grant in the State to the Los Angeles Police Department.

ABC Director Jerry R. Jolly issued a ceremonial US$125,000 cheque to LAPD chief William J. Bratton to be used in fighting alcohol-related crime.

And for the first time, US$25,000 of the grant funds will be used to target alcohol-related crime specifically in the Hollenbeck Division, while the rest will go for city-wide enforcement of alcohol laws, a statement said.

The special funding for Hollenbeck was due primarily to the efforts of Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez and other State and local officials in assisting residents of the area to get rid of problem bars and liquor stores.

ABC director Jolly said: "This is the ninth ABC grant totaling more than US$900,000 given to the LAPD since 1996, with significant results. Counting today's revocation of Mi Barra, a total of 70 liquor outlets have been shut down for various reasons resulting in a positive impact on the quality of life in the surrounding neighbourhoods."

Chief Bratton said the ABC grants have been a tremendous help in keeping in check the nearly 6,000 liquor outlets in the city.

Bratton said: "The LAPD will continue to work with licensees to help them understand their responsibilities in the selling and serving of alcoholic beverages. The LAPD STAR Program, which stands for Standardized Training for Alcohol Retailers, will be expanded to educate licensees and their employees in promoting the responsible sale, service and distribution of alcoholic beverages within the City."

The LAPD is one of 24 local law enforcement agencies around the State to receive a portion of the US$1.5m in ABC grants.