RALEIGH, N.C. — Nightclub owners in Raleigh may get some relief from a much-debated ordinance.
In Raleigh, any business with loud entertainment that sits on a parking lot must hire a sworn police officer for security. The code was enacted to put a stop to violent outbreaks at problem nightclubs.
City leaders say the ordinance has worked, but many club owners with clean records say they are being unfairly targeted and punished for the actions of a few rowdy clubs.
"They always say history, past performance is indicative of future results, so I think that is a big issue," club owner Gary Gibson said.
At least three city leaders now agree.
The public safety committee will recommend to the full council that for a trial period of three months, any nightclub that has gone a full year without a drug violation or violent disturbance be allowed to hire its own security.
"It gets them out of the burden from having to pay a police officer. In addition, it gets them out of the fining mechanism that's in place right now," councilor Philip Isley said.
As part of the recommendation, owners of new nightclubs will have to go for as long as six months with a clean record before they will be allowed to hire their own security. Clubs that have had problems with drugs and violence will require the off-duty officers.
Off-duty officers are paid $35 an hour. Club owners who disobey the ordinance could face a $500 fine.
Police Chief Jane Perlov said she is aware of the perception that there is a conflict of interest, but she says the officers are just doing their job and are not violating the integrity of the department.