Alabama city weighs bar moratorium amid police shortage

  • Tuscaloosa is weighing a moratorium on new bars as it struggles to retain officers
  • Police leaders said they don't believe they can handle an influx of bargoers
  • The city attorney is looking into the legality of a moratorium

(NewsNation) — The Tuscaloosa, Alabama, City Council is weighing the idea of halting the opening of new bars in the city as its police department struggles with a shortage of officers.

the Tuscaloosa Police Department is down 34 officers and has 290 sworn officers on duty. City Council President Kip Tyner says a moratorium is just in the discussion phase to see what can be done to handle the problem, NewsNation affiliate WIAT-TV reported.

“We’ve been so overwhelmed and right now with our numbers still down with our police department and the numbers that seem to go up as far as businesses trying to find new ways to increase capacity,” Tyner said. “We have parking lot issues after places close; it just put a terrible strain on our police department.”

The proposal was floated Monday during a briefing before the council’s meeting as they discussed whether a new restaurant, bar and hookah lounge should open, the Tuscaloosa Thread reported.

Assistant Police Chief Heath Clark told the council that police department leaders don’t believe they have enough officers to handle any further influx of bargoers.

“Many patrons come in from all over to enjoy entertainment at the bars and it is targeting from the hours from 10 p.m. until 3 in the morning,” Clark told WIAT-TV. “It’s a time that puts lots of stress on our manpower and our ability to provide other services with neighborhood patrols and other businesses.”

The city attorney is looking into the legality of a moratorium and will present findings later this month to a public safety committee.

NewsNation affiliate WIAT-TV contributed to this report.


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