Selma leaders, club owners meet to discuss security

Published 11:49 am Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Selma City Council is trying to increase communication and partnership between club owners and law enforcement with a proposed resolution.

City officials held a public meeting Monday with club owners to receive input on the resolution. A total of 13 club owners showed up to the meeting. A total of 20 businesses were invited.

Selma City Council President Corey Bowie said the resolution is aimed at increasing police department’s ability to gather information quickly in case of an incident.

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“We want to be a friend of the entertainment district,” Bowie said. “It takes entertainment for the viability of any city. We thought it would be more engaging if we got input from club owners.”

The proposed resolution is an update of a previous version with three key additions.

The new version asks club and lounge owners to submit a yearly safety plan — outlining security measures to efficiently safeguard the establishment and guests —to the Selma Police Department.

Selma Chief of Police William Riley suggested to club owners the security plans be submitted before Oct. 15 every year.

The new resolution also requires club owners to submit a file on its security guards, which should include the name, address, date of birth, picture identification, Social Security number, telephone number, criminal history, past training, previous employment and a copy of the guard’s permit to carry a firearm. Security guards are also asked to wear clothing that differentiates them from club patrons.

The clothing would be useful if police are called to the club, Riley said.

“If officers come in they should be able to identify a security guard from a patron,” he said. “We don’t want to get to the scene and be looking to find someone to tell us what is going on.”

The resolution currently sets an age requirement of 21 years for all security guards in the city, but council members are considering raising the age.

“Should we make it 25 or 26,” Bowie asked. “Twenty-one might be too young.”

Though the resolution includes requirements for security guards, club owners expressed concern about how the police could keep the peace after closing time.

“What I’m really concerned about is off duty police officers,” club owner Clyde Richardson said. “Are we going to be able to hire the officers to moonlight the club at the club’s expense?”

Riley said hiring off-duty police officers to provide security outside of clubs is a possibility, but he wasn’t willing to make a commitment at Monday’s meeting.