Albany leaders talk rolling back nightclub hours

Committee also hears update on other safety measures

Albany leaders talk rolling back nightclub hours

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Albany leaders talked about reducing night club hours and other security tactics to reduce overnight crimes at a Thursday City of Albany Public Safety Meeting.

Currently, you have to be out of Albany night clubs by 4 a.m., Tuesday through Sunday, according to Albany leaders.

City of Albany Public Safety Committee members have a new idea.

“Alcohol not being served passed 2:45 a.m. and then the businesses close, turn the lights off and go home at 3:15 a.m.,” Chad Warbington, committee chair and Albany city commissioner, said.

Chad Warbington, Albany city commissioner and committee member.
Chad Warbington, Albany city commissioner and committee member. (Source: WALB)

Albany Police Department (APD) Chief Michael Persley believes this would help curve violent crimes, like shootings, that happen in the early morning hours.

He said they would monitor this by having spot checks.

Committee members are taking a deeper look into this to see if closing earlier would make a significant difference.

This will be on Albany City Commissioners’ agenda next Tuesday for a vote.

Warbington said having these kinds of business hours are not usual across Southwest Georgia.

“We’re kinda coming in line with the other cities around us,” he added.

While on the subject of security, committee members also talked about security cameras at these types of places.

The City of Albany currently has no requirements for nightclubs to have security cameras, according to Warbington.

“One of the things we talked about is in the future is to put some requirements in place to have cameras on the inside of nightclubs, at the point of transaction and also in the parking lot around the promises around night clubs,” Warbington said.

Warbington said City of Albany Attorney Nathan Davis is working out the details before moving forward on this topic.

They also were looking at possible requirements to have security guards on site.

However, committee members decided to leave that in the hands of the Albany Police Department and the marshal’s office if problems happen at certain clubs.

Warbington said they knew money would be a factor for smaller establishments.

”It’s gonna be a tremendous financial burden on a small night club to have that requirement of security guards,” Warbington said.

This was all talked about during Thursday’s Public Safety Meeting at the Law Enforcement Center in downtown Albany.

Other safety measures discussed

New Video System working well at APD

During the meeting, Persley gave an update on a new video system officers are using.

Albany police have been using their new integrated video system for officers for approximately two weeks.

Persley said so far it’s a success.

He said this system is for body cameras, fleet cameras and helps recognize license plates which can help identify stolen vehicles.

This is something that is already in use in most of APD’s fleet.

Albany Police Chief Michael Persley and City Attorney Nathan Davis.
Albany Police Chief Michael Persley and City Attorney Nathan Davis. (Source: WALB)

Persley said for the most part the cameras are always on and recording.

“All of this information is sensitive to open records but for the most part, we’re limiting the discretion when an officer can turn it on and when not to turn it on,” Persley said.

He’s referring to different situations like sensitive calls or restroom visits.

This new system helps officers because parts of it can be activated by different things like police lights coming on, Persley said.

He said between cameras, training and infrastructure, it all cost almost $90,000.

Persley said this is a fairly new technology and not many police departments have something like it.

The City of Albany Public Safety Committee is made of up seven people, including Albany City Commissioners like BJ Fletcher, Warbington, Demetrius Young and Jon Howard, along with Persley and others.

The purpose of the committee is to brainstorm safety measures, then take those ideas to city commission meetings, the city attorney or other city leaders for actions and opinions.

No voting is done at these public meetings.

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