Security concerns fall on a fine line

Published 7:19 pm Friday, December 1, 2017

Police Chief Kenneth Collins hopes the city will create an ordinance that requires facility owners to provide security at events where alcohol will be consumed.

Collins made the recommendation following a fatal shooting at a club last week. The owner of the Oasis Club said he required the people renting his facility to have security and he was there making sure those instructions were being followed. But it didn’t prevent the fatal shooting that also injured several more.

Aldermen have not offered their full-fledged support of Collins’ plan, likely because they haven’t heard the details of the plan directly from Collins yet. Some appear to have misgivings about tying an ordinance to alcohol use.

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Ward 6 Alderwoman Shelley Harrigill said that alcohol is not the only aggravating factor when it comes to violence at parties. She suggested possibly tying the need for security to the number of people at an event.

“It needs to be thought through on how many events it would affect,” Alderman Fletcher Grice said.

We support any reasonable measure that helps keep Brookhaven safe, but Collins’ plan might be difficult to enforce and could negatively impact otherwise law-abiding businesses and individuals.

An ordinance that impacts a party at the Oasis Club could also impact wedding receptions where alcohol is consumed. There will likely be pushback against requiring security at weddings — or at corporate Christmas parties and other gatherings. What about restaurants that rent space for parties?

There are a number of other situations that would be impacted by an ordinance tied to rental facilities and alcohol consumption. We are not suggesting the city not implement some sort of ordinance tied to alcohol consumption, but aldermen need to think through the consequences thoroughly. Too broad of a brush will likely lead to upset business owners, but too narrow of one will be problematic as well.