Volume 75, Number 47 | April 12 - 18 2006

Gerson unveils nightlife security plan

In response to the murder on Feb. 25 of Imette St. Guillen, the John Jay College student last seen alive at The Falls, a Nolita bar, City Councilmember Alan J. Gerson on Tuesday announced a Nightlife Security Initiative with legislation that would allow approved bars and clubs to hire city police for security patrols.

While several police commissioners, including Ray Kelly, the current one, have opposed the measure, the New York Nightlife Association, an organization of nightclub and lounge owners, has long been in favor of the policy, known as paid detail.

Gerson’s proposed initiative, co-sponsored by Councilmembers David Yassky and Peter Vallone, Jr., calls for city police, paid by bar and club owners, to patrol specified areas around participating bars from 10 p.m. until a half hour after closing.

The initiative also includes legislation requiring all bar employees who perform security duty to provide owners with legal documents, certified by law enforcement agencies, showing that they have no criminal convictions within the previous five years that would affect their duties. The law would make bar owners responsible for making sure the documents are valid.

Gerson wants New York State to require as part of the Alcohol Beverage Control Law that bar owners must cooperate fully with law enforcement investigations or have their liquor licenses revoked.

Gerson also wants the police Cabaret Unit to change its present evening shift, 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., to 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. to monitor the increased activity at closing time.

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