Councilman William H. Cole IV: law enforcement will have to rethink downtown safety after Select Lounge
It continued Sunday with a fatal shooting at the West side's Select Lounge.
Though city councilman William H. Cole IV defended the city's efforts to improve security over the years, he also said the shooting will force law enforcement and city officials to again rethink security strategies for night clubs.
"We're going to have to take a very serious look at these clubs to make sure police have resources they need and the clubs are contributing to keep their facilities safe," he said.
For tomorrow's paper, I spoke with Cole and Liquor Board chairman Stephan Fogleman about the shooting, and compiled some recent incidents of violence at the city's clubs and lounge. That story can be found here.
In the past, Cole said, the city responded to violent incidents at downtown night clubs with padlocking, using the liquor board's enforcement arm, and demanding clubs improved their security. Police also increased security at closing times, when most problems arose, he added.
He argued the combined efforts had dampened violence problems, but that some clubs were still not on board.
"It depends on the clubs and it depends on the night," he said. "Some of them do a very good job with private security."
He said the shooting, at least, will make everyone reconsider the best way to secure nightlife spots.
"This will spark another conversation about safety and security in the downtown clubs and how well they staff their own private security," he said.
Business in the area is dependent on better security, he said.
"I don't know if [the shooting] is going to have an effect on the nightlife business downtown," he said. "Our responsibility is to make sure these clubs are operating safely, and if that happens, the crowds will come."
Photo: Select Lounge cordoned off by police tape (Crime Beat blog)