RALEIGH, N.C. — Raleigh nightclub owners are voicing displeasure about a city ordinance that requires them to hire security.
According to the ordinance, any place that offers music entertainment like a band or a stereo system, that holds more than 99 people and has its own parking lot must have hired security. Though the law has been in place for several years, some people say it is being enforced unfairly.
Gary Gibson, owner of Loafers Beach Club, said that a week after he opened, a Raleigh police officer threatened to fine him $500 because he had not hired an off-duty police officer to watch over his club. So, Gibson hired an officer at $35 an hour.
City leaders defend the ordinance, saying it has cut down on the number of violent eruptions in nightclubs. But the policy is so broad that even a place like O'Malley's Pub and Restaurant, which most of the time has a jukebox playing, would have to have security even if only a dozen people are in the place.
Nightclub owners claim most places under the ordinance would be out of business. Gibson said business owners are being fined even when their hired officers do not show up.
City leaders admit the ordinance could be improved.
One change city leaders are looking into is making it easier for places to hire outside the Raleigh Police Department. That is difficult now, in part, because the Wake County Sheriff's Office does not allow its deputies to do that kind of work after hours.