New York City plan could help Shreveport
November 21, 2007
By Velda Hunter
REGISTER HERE NOW
Shreveport is eyeing New York City for guidance in developing a plan to improve public safety.
Plans are for Shreveport police to tailor the Big Apple's 58-point program of best practices, aimed at maintaining safety in bars and clubs along with curbing illegal activities, including violence, drug sales, underage drinking and prostitution, to meet Shreveport's needs.
Shreveport Police Chief Henry Whitehorn spoke briefly about the department's plans when the city's public safety committee met Tuesday. "I think that's something we need to do."
Most of the New York plan applies to security, employees, age verification, club policies and police-community relations, according to a New York Police Department news release.
The best practices include requirements for mounted digital cameras at all entry doors and outside bathroom doors and calls for weapons searches of patrons, including VIPs and deejays. Security guards are recommended to be uniformly attired, and police must be notified of all scheduled events.
Other guidelines include having one licensed and trained security guard for every 75 club patrons. Bars and clubs also are instructed not to clean up the crime scene, to preserve video of people inside the club when the crime took place for police and immediately identify and preserve financial transaction information for all parties involved and possible witnesses.
Whitehorn plans to meet with nightclub and bar owners to get them involved in the process, which also would include instructions about what do if a fight happens.
The 58-point program was brought up during a discussion that involved Kokopelli's, a Red River District nightclub. A handful of major beatings and a rape reported inside or near the downtown nightclub in the past few months have sparked city officials to seek ways to improve the situation.
"At the end of the day, this is someone's kid that this is happening to," said Councilwoman Joyce Bowman. "I'm not just going to pass it off."
Police already have stepped up patrols downtown. They also conduct bar checks, during which officers go to clubs looking for crime or other illegal activity along with fire safety code violations.
Whitehorn said Kokopelli's management plans to turn it into a country western bar and move the existing club to another spot that's smaller.
Chad Fangue, manager of Kokopelli's, wouldn't confirm that. "I'm not disclosing anything right now."
City officials pointed out that a move wouldn't necessarily end problems, which could move elsewhere.
"I think it's how they manage their crowd," Councilman Michael Long said.
New York City's program, which was unveiled in October, came after the murders of Imette St. Guillen and Jennifer Moore last year. They were killed in separate incidents after leaving nightclubs.
Shreveport's public safety committee deals mostly with police, Fire Department and emergency management service matters.
Miss a day. Miss a lot. Get all the who, what, when and where delivered to your home.
Sign up today for 7-day delivery of The Times and get a FREE gift.
Click here to start your subscription.
November 21, 2007