City leaders drafting safety, security guidelines for nightclubs

Councilman Jim Love calls for change inside Jacksonville's nightclubs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - City Councilman Jim Love's goal is to curb violence in Jacksonville's nightclubs and bars.   Love said Jacksonville leaders are currently drafting an ordinance that would give clubs specific guidelines to follow for safety and security. 

"If you go in there with a gun and shoot somebody, at least it will be on videotape and you will know that it will be on videotape, and hopefully we can track the people down," said Councilman Jim Love.  

Love said patrons can go into any bar or nightclub in the city and not really know how safe they are.  Some clubs have cameras and others have visible security, but Love said he wants to make changes and have uniform requirements for security in clubs across the city.  

"I'm not going as far as some of them go, but there are no minimums," said Love.  

 Love said that for the last month, he and the city's general counsel have been drafting an ordinance based on suggestions he's come up with to make clubs safer.

Love would like to see security cameras at every entrance and exit door inside establishments.  The councilman would also like to require clubs to have a security guard for every 50 people that enter a club.  The ordinance Love is proposing would also require those security guards to undergo background checks before they are hired.  

Councilman Love also wants every establishment to have a safety plan in place and acquire general liability insurance.  

"I got these ideas from talking to nightclub owners. Most of these nightclubs are run very well. There are just a few bad apples," said Councilman Love.   

In March, owners of Fat Kat Night Club voluntarily shut it down after one person was killed and four injured  in a shooting inside. Love met with club owners like Jerry Rosenberg after the incident, to get feedback on safety issues.

Rosenberg owns Metro Entertainment. He has 64 camera's inside the club and a machine that scan's patron's I.D.s before they are allowed inside. Rosenberg told Channel 4 that he likes the  new proposals, with one exception.

"I think all of it is good except for a security guard per 50 people. I think that may be a little too much. Generally we will have two security guards for 200 to 250 people, and that works just fine," said Rosenberg.  

Love said the council should be finished drafting  a proposal in a month.  After it's drafted, the proposal will go through several committees before it is introduced to the council.  

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