Newport City Council asks Police Chief Mark Miranda to work more closely with two bars and a nightclub to help reduce police calls.
After compiling a list of police calls for service at Apollo’s Nightclub, Sandbar and Grill, and Moby Dicks, Police Chief Mark Miranda said the frequency of the calls, in his judgement, requires asking the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to place operating restrictions on those businesses –
1. Reduce hours of operation; Close at midnight.
2. Install video surveillance cameras and allow police inspection and viewing
3. Employ security guards; 1 guard for every 25 patrons.
Backing up his concerns, Miranda outlined a record of serious police calls by the businesses:
Apollo’s Nightclub: 72 calls for police service in 2012 with 74% related to incidents of disorder – assaults, disturbances, unwanted persons and noise complaints. Most calls for service occurred between 11pm and 3am.
Five arrests were made at the business with five more confirmed related DUII arrests.
Sandbar and Grill: 39 calls for police service during 2012. 51% of calls involved incidents of disorder similar to those listed above. Most calls occurred between 1am and 3am. Ten arrests were made at the establishment; seven more on the road for DUII that were traceable back to the establishment.
Moby Dick’s Seafood and Spirits: 52 calls for police service in 2012. 65% involved incidents of disorder. Most calls came in between the hours of 10pm and 2am. Six arrests were made at the establishment with two more for DUII coming directly from the establishment.
Chief Miranda added the following:
“Establishments such as these serve the public. However, it is vital that their patrons are provided with a safe environment. In addition, Police Officers should not have to confront those patrons who are violent. I believe that adjustments need to be made in the operations of these establishments to reduce the violent behavior we experience. Once calls for service for disorderly persons have been reduced, the owners will experience an increase in patrons because their establishments will be safer.”
But one by one, establishment owners and their supporters/patrons told the council that a letter from Chief Miranda was their first inkling that the council would be asked to urge the state OLCC to slap restrictions on their businesses. They were taken aback. Chief Miranda was asked by the council whether the owners had seen the report laid before them Monday night. Chief Miranda said no, adding that he relied on reports from his officers and sergeants in the field as to the work load the three establishments were putting on the department which takes away from other patrol duties in other parts of town.
But some owners said that tourists come to Newport to unwind, and that sometimes they get a little rowdy – that it’s due to Newport being a tourist destination where some will party hardier than others. Owners told the council that they make a major portion of their income between 11pm and 3am. One said if they had to close down at midnight, they’d soon be out of business. Meanwhile the police would be called to other bars and dance spots, that are still allowed to be open later, where the disturbances would continue.
One security guard worker testified that if Newport recommended, and the OLCC adopted the restrictions, it would create a chilling effect on all those who might otherwise want to open new businesses, or expand current ones, for fear of crippling restrictions.
The council heard all their pleas and instructed Chief Miranda to sit down with the three business owners and staff and express his concerns to them. The council said they wanted Chief Miranda to seek cooperation from the owners in areas vital to his priorities of reducing the number and severity of police calls. They also asked him to report back to the council on what he finds.