SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – There’s a proposal from a Shreveport City Councilman to reduce the hours that some bars can stay open.
The ordinance would affect all bars outside of downtown by reducing their open times by two hours. Councilman Jerry Bowman, who authored the ordinance, said there’s so much crime in the city but not enough police officers to respond to it all.
During Tuesday’s council meeting, Bowman of District G proposed the ordinance to change the operating hours of local bars from a 4 a.m. close time to 2 a.m. instead. Bowman said the intent is to help the shortage of police officers.
“This will help reduce the traffic of our officers who have to run all the way out from one area of town and come back downtown if there’s a call for service. Most of these calls come between 2 and 4 a.m.,” Bowman said.
His ordinance focuses on bars outside downtown. The bars downtown are exempt because they are classified under the Downtown Entertainment District and can stay open as late as 6 a.m., with some choosing to close at 4 a.m.
“That’s our entertainment district. We have our casinos there. That’s a big tax base. We just want to keep everyone consolidated to one area,” Bowman said.
Bowman said officers must go back and forth from downtown to bars throughout the city. With fewer officers on the force, responding to all the calls is challenging.
“Whether it’s assault and battery or DUI, those officers could get there quickly instead of coming from another part of town,” Bowman said.
The bars in the Highland neighborhood would be affected because they are not within the downtown district. Bowman said he talked with some owners before introducing the ordinance, who told him they already close earlier than 4 a.m. on many nights. He said there are less than ten bars outside of the downtown area.
“It won’t affect them too much to where it would put them out of business,” he said.
No bar owners were present at the meeting. The proposal passed without discussion, and Bowman believes he has the support for it to be adopted.
This was the first introduction, and they will vote on the ordinance at the next meeting in two weeks.
In a separate ordinance related to alcohol, there’s another proposal to allow grocery stores to sell high-content alcohol without having a separate entrance which also passed.
The council also officially rejected the recycling bid from C. Edwards Concepts LLC. Bowman said he had mixed emotions about it because he wants recycling in the city, but the city will need to find the right company to do the job.
The council also approved a special election to fill the vacant City Marshall position after the passing of Charlie Caldwell. The special election will be in March.