Common sense tool results from tragedy

It’s been six weeks since my brother-in-law, Adam McCloud, was killed in a downtown bar in Stillwater. Our family is still in a season of turbulence as you would expect from a family that lost a brother, son, and uncle. But we have been comforted by the wonderful community that Stillwater and Bayport have proven to be. You have cried along with us and we are truly sorry for your pain as well.

Stillwater has proven to be so much more than a city and has redefined my definition of community. The outpouring of support has touched all of us. Businesses have held (and helped with) fundraisers; the police have been thoughtful and helped direct us through uncharted waters, and Washington County Attorney Pete Orput and his office have been a source of support and comfort as they prosecute Adam’s case. Our neighbors made our meals and continue to give us shoulders to cry on, and our clergy offer us wisdom and help us see through this to the larger context.

One of the better things to come out of this tragedy is a common sense tool that Stillwater City Council is putting in the hands of the police to ensure that establishments holding liquor licenses police their restaurants and bars. The proposed change would allow officers to issue citations to a bar after six incidents, but could eventually end in suspension if the situation isn’t corrected. My belief, and hope, is that Adam’s death will be a wake-up call for those institutions that have been harboring ill-tempered patrons. But if they choose not to respond appropriately, the police need tools to help make change happen.

My understanding is that the business community has some concerns with the original draft and a revision process is underway. That, in my view, is good and right.  Nobody wants to create something onerous; however there should be a well-defined line that can only be crossed willfully.

What I love about this community is that it doesn’t suffer the lack of empathy so indicative of large cities. I have three small children who have grown up here with a sense of safety and security. We know our neighbors and we all pitch in with each other’s children. This is not a community where any business can, or should be allowed to, ignore their responsibility to maintain the safety of their customers.

Please join me in letting the Stillwater City Council and Mayor Ken Harycki know you support this common sense measure.

Larry Odebrecht