SPD seeks ‘tool’ to help control bar patron behavior

Stillwater bars and restaurants would be responsible for controlling their customers’ conduct under an amendment to the city’s liquor ordinance presented to the Stillwater City Council Tuesday.

The amendment attempts to address Stillwater Police Department concerns about the number of habitual calls to some downtown nightspots.

City Attorney Dave Magnuson said the amendment makes establishments responsible for conduct on their premises. Magnuson noted that some nightspots had 30 or more police calls to their establishments in 2011.

Under the amendment, an establishment would get a violation if it has six or more incidents, Magnuson said.

Incidents include: disorderly conduct, assault, noise violation, outside music violation, 911 violation, unlawful assembly, trespass and remaining open for 90 days or more while on the Minnesota Department of revenue’s posted list of sales tax delinquent liquor establishments.

Stillwater Police Chief John Gannaway said the amendment gives the police officers another tool they can use to handle complaints at bars and restaurants.

The ordinance would apply to establishments’ interiors, as well as yard space, sidewalks and streets adjacent to establishments going forward.

“This change allows us to do a better job of handling what happens in the establishments and have them be held accountable,” Magnuson said.

The amendment gets a second reading at the council’s Oct. 30 meeting. The amendment will be added into the city’s current liquor law if it passes.