Shooting prompts police patrols

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Downtown Selma is a popular retreat on weekends.

Club-goers crowd the bars and occasionally the streets Friday and Saturday nights. Most of the time that is not a problem, but according to Selma Police Chief Robert Green, things have gotten out of hand.

That’s why this Friday night will see the Public Safety Enforcement Team’s (PSET) entrance onto Selma’s streets.

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PSET is a joint effort between the Selma Police and Fire Departments. Green said PSET will focus on downtown clubs, but it won’t be limited to just that area. All clubs within the police jurisdiction will be examined as time permits.

The purpose is to crack down on underage drinking, code violations and criminal loitering, in addition to other violations enforcement teams witness.

Clubs in Selma have been the scene of several violent confrontations recently, and Green hoped PSET would have an impact on crime in clubs.

Each PSET team will be composed of three members: two police officers and one fire department member &045;&045; most likely Fire Inspector Gregg Lewellen.

Green said police officers will be visible and not undercover. If they see a criminal offense, they will attempt to make an arrest. Officers will ask loitering violators to move on.

Green said he had also spoken to several club owners about the fake identification problems.

Lewellen’s role in PSET concerns building code violations, such as faulty emergency lights or exit doors that don’t open properly. Serious offenses could warrant shutting the establishment down, he said. All businesses serving alcohol must have one entrance and two exits.

Green said the formation of PSET was prompted by a shooting that occurred several months ago.

On Feb. 28 Mario Jermaine Simmons was arrested for the death of Paul Jermaine Mollette in a shooting that took place near the Washington Street Super Market.