May 102013
 

reflector

By Michael Abramowitz

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Greenville City Council voted unanimously to amend portions of an ordinance regulating safety training and qualifications for bouncers at city nightclubs.

Greenville Police Department Capt. Chris Ivey told the council members the department wanted to work with club and restaurant owners to relieve some of burdensome details of the safety regulations.

The ordinance requires background checks for employees designated as bouncers, and requires that they attend training provided by the police department. Proof of compliance must be submitted to the police chief.

The ordinance was one of several recommendations that emerged from a 2009 public safety task force formed after a double homicide outside The Other Place on Fifth Street in the downtown bar district. East Carolina University student Landon Blackley and Michaelangelo’s restaurant manager Andrew Kirby were shot and killed in the incident.

Since adoption of the ordinance, the bar and restaurant owners pointed out some aspects that they said have been over-burdensome to their operations, Ivey said. The police reviewed the ordinance with both the bar and restaurant owners and the city attorney’s office.

Staff prepared suggested modifications that reflect the changes that the police department feels would alleviate hardship on the business owners while maintaining the portions of the ordinance that have proven beneficial, Ivey said.

The amendment changed the period of time a club could employ a bouncer before completing a four-hour police training program from no more than 60 days to no more than 90 days from employment.

The training program originally needed to be updated annually. It was amended to require updates every other year, or every two years.

The amended ordinance also changed the requirement that clubs submit a list of their bouncers names to the police chief each month. Clubs now must submit the names on a quarterly schedule.

According to the original ordinance, safety regulation violators receive a civil penalty citation that had to be paid within 72 hours or legally contested. The new regulation allows 10 days to pay.

Finally, continued violations were penalized for each day of non-compliance under the original ordinance. That has been changed to penalize bar and restaurant owners for each 10-day period of continued non-compliance.

Ivey said the owners meet regularly with police administrators to discuss issues, and the issues that were changed had been persistent problems for the owners.

“We submitted what we thought was a compromise that helps business owners and helps us with some administrative issues,” Ivey said. “We’ve been working real closely with them and we think these changes will work well for everybody.”

On another matter before the council, members voted unanimously to reclassify the code enforcement supervisor position from a sworn police department position to a civilian position administered within the department.

The Code Enforcement Unit originally was housed within the Community Development Department before being under the police umbrella. The city will now employ professionally trained code enforcement officers with four years of college education in urban planning, public administration or construction management, staff said. Three years of experience in personnel management, code enforcement and community relations will be required, they said.

The annual salary for the civilian supervisor will be $56,534.

Contact Michael Abramowitz at mabramowitz@reflector.com or 252-329-9571.

via The Daily Reflector.

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