New Haven bar crackdown continues

Temple Grill
Photo by Jennifer Cheung.

Reckless behavior and underage drinking problems have forced the New Haven Police Department to continue its recent crackdown on bars and nightclubs around the Elm City.

Since the NHPD stepped up patrol efforts earlier this year to control alcohol-related mischief, a series of incidents around the city’s entertainment district — such as the Oct. 13 brawls outside Kudeta and several bar citations for underage drinking — have forced the department to increase police presence after hours. Though the exact deployment numbers are not available, several press releases said that more officers have been stationed near popular establishments in New Haven to guard against the underage drinking, public intoxication, disorderly conduct and nighttime violence.

“The inspections are a continuing effort to curb such activity, discourage over-consumption and make sure the venues provide for their patrons’ safety,” department spokesman David Hartman said in a Sept. 23 press release. “The continued enhanced police presence will continue to assure underage bar and club patrons get the message.”

The press release was issued days after a city shooting and as students from New Haven’s universities were returning to campus. In response, NHPD increased patrol efforts, dispatching around a dozen officers on foot and bike, and several others on motorcycles, to look for traffic violators and drunk drivers.
Earlier in September, the NHPD announced that it had held a forum with the New Haven Department of Health and other organizations on nightclub and bar safety. Representatives from Quinnipiac University and the University of New Haven were on hand to discuss the local nightclub scene and plans to increase downtown security and boost patrol units.

To complement the nighttime patrol efforts, the NHPD has also dedicated more resources to actively inspecting bars in order to make sure that they abide by liquor sales regulations. Previously, such inspections were carried out exclusively by state liquor agents, but the NHPD has started to conduct them independently. Current inspection teams are composed of NHPD officers, building code inspectors and representatives from the Fire Marshal’s Office and the Livable City Initiative, an organization that enforces public safety requirements in New Haven.

“Officers will be expanding their inspections beyond the customary boundaries,” Hartman said in the Sept. 6 press release. “Liquor establishment owners and managers must be reminded that they have a great responsibility to regulate their business and educate their staff.”

These efforts have resulted in the citation of such bars as Temple Grill and Delaney’s Taproom and Restaurant, both of which allegedly failed compliance tests run by the NHPD and the state’s Department of Consumer Protection. The two establishments now face hearings with the Liquor Control Commission to address charges that they sold alcohol to minors.

“Typically, the permittee of an establishment that has been cited by the Department will be notified to appear before the Liquor Control Commission for a hearing at which time they can present their side of the facts,” said Claudette Carveth, the Director of the DCP’s Office of Communication and Education.“Agents from the DPC also provide testimony, and then each case is decided individually.”

Though the main focus of the NHPD’s crackdown has been on downtown New Haven’s entertainment district, bars closer to Yale’s campus have also felt its presence.
“I think it’s just a general knowledge that everybody knows what’s going on and what needs to be done,” said Frank Cullimore, the manager of Anna Liffey’s, an Irish bar on Whitney Avenue.

Cullimore also said that, though he has not noticed a significant change in the crowd numbers at Anna Liffey’s, he has heard that fewer people are going to downtown clubs and bars because of the crackdown.

“I think it’s good for New Haven, in general, and for businesses that the violence will be ended or at least cleaned up a little bit,” Cullimore said.

A Sept. 6 NHPD liquor inspection resulted in the arrest of six students from Sacred Heart University for underage drinking.

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