City Looking To Stop After Hour Problems

Thursday, March 27th 2008, 6:15 pm
By: News On 6

Authorities are taking the first step toward stopping problems at "after hours" clubs.  Police consider those clubs a nuisance and say they spread crime far beyond the parking lot. Over the last few months, some of the clubs have come and gone after serious crimes inside and just outside their doors.

The News On 6's Emory Bryan reports the city has come up with a plan to crack down on the clubs while leaving an opening so that well planned events can still happen and be within the law.

The change in the law was prompted by a rash of shootings and other crimes at downtown clubs like the one at "The Ministry" last year, when two teenagers where shot.

The incident prompted a protest about the club's security and accountability for what happened.  It turned out the club was operating within a gray area of city law.

"It basically said if you're sponsored you could stay open from two to seven," said Phil Cozzoni, Tulsa Police Legal Advisor.

Several clubs used a non-profit sponsorship to stay open past the normal 2 a.m. closing time.

The crimes contributed to several of the clubs closing down, but the city plans to clarify the law to prevent more problems.

Cozzoni says it starts with a paper trail of accountability.

"From who will be there on site, what kind of safety plan they have to what kind of event, they'll have to put all that in there," said Cozzoni.

The city permit office will handle what the legal department calls an "Entertainment Club After Hours Permit."

It's a $150 license to open up for a single night, available only to legitimate non-profits, who come up with a security plan that meets city scrutiny.

"The people who want to put on a good after hours events, they'll know they did the right thing, they went through the steps," said Cozzoni.

It comes too late to stop problems that have happened recently as last month, when Phillip Greer was shot and killed at "The Hive." And it's too late for Eric Bell, who was killed at "Club UV" just after Christmas.

The change in the law goes to the city council for the first time on Thursday night, but it's likely to take effect just about the time school is out for the summer.

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