Entertainment district deserves police presense

Published 8:49 pm Wednesday, July 17, 2013

City officials talk often about building up downtown. Selma Mayor George Evans and council members often say they see Water Avenue as “our own Bourbon Street.”

Surely, a boom of business and other entertainment ventures locating on Water Avenue and Alabama Avenue would be a positive stir in the city. We await the completion of the amphitheater so that large concerts and other functions will now have a home in Selma and attract some more visitors.

But if the politicians are going to promise us our own Bourbon Street and entertainment district downtown, they very well should look into a decisive and specific plan for crowd control and ways to keep the area safe at night and on the weekends.

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Selma Chief of Police William Riley has said it is not his department’s job to babysit clubs and he is right, his police officers have plenty to do rather than monitoring barely legal drinkers as they take shots for the first time. But, if the city wants a downtown district with entertainment venues such as clubs — least their very own Bourbon Street — they should also want to pay for extra patrol units in that area to be stationed in that area alone to insure patrons are safe. Last year, there were countless injuries in shootings in and around some downtown clubs.

If the city wants to invest millions in an amphitheater and encourage businesses to open, they should also want to invest in the police force. This, or they will be forced to shell out for money lost on the amphitheater when no one will come because they fear for their safety.