June 21st, 2011 | Uncategorized

New law involves NHPD in renewing liquor permits

City bars and nightclubs hoping to get their liquor permits renewed will soon come under scrutiny from the police.

A new law passed on June 8, the last day of the legislative session, will create a two-year pilot program in New Haven that will include the New Haven Police Department in the process of renewing liquor permits. Mayor John DeStefano Jr. joined Sen. Martin Looney (D-New Haven), the legislation’s sponsor, and other lawmakers at Black Bear Saloon on Temple Street to celebrate the passage of the bill, which DeStefano said will enhance public safety by allowing the police department to weigh in on renewals for establishments that violate the terms of permits.

While most permit holders follow the terms of their permit, the city needs greater authority to crack down on “problem permittees,” Looney said in a press release.

“As we’ve seen in the city of New Haven, some individuals do abuse the system,” he said in the release. “While local police deal on the front line when there are issues at these bars, it makes little sense that they would have no ability to comment should a permit come up for renewal.”

Currently, liquor permit renewals require approval from the city fire marshal, but the police department cannot comment on a pending renewal and is not notified when renewal applications are filed. Under the new law, the police chief will be given written notice of all renewal applications and be allowed to submit written comments or recommendations about the application to the state’s Department of Consumer Protection.

The new law takes effect Jan. 1.

Watch a video of Looney speaking about the legislation in March, when he first introduced the bill to the state’s General Assembly.