Bar owners and cops talk safety |

Bar owners and cops talk safety

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BRECKENRIDGE – Bar owners sometimes view law enforcement as a nosey parent, and local police sometimes see nightclub patrons as a public nuisance.

In Breckenridge on Tuesday, police and local bar owners found common ground as the two groups came together for a bar safety meeting at the Breckenridge Police Department.

“Our goals are centered around trying to create a nightlife here in Breckenridge where people can have a good time, but they are safe,” Breckenridge Sergeant Eric Stremel said.

Representatives from Breckenridge establishments Burke and Riley’s Irish Pub, Kenosha Steakhouse, Brooklyn’s, Downstairs at Eric’s and Napper Tandy’s Irish Pub were all on hand to take in the free session.

Stremel said there was an increase in reports of fights, trespassing and public intoxication from the 2008 ski season to the 2009 season. The increase may have been due to better police work or an actual rise in incidents, Stremel said.

The goal of the meeting was not to scold local bars owners and managers for allowing fights and over-serving patrons, but rather to encourage an open dialog on how police can better serve the community while keeping bar owners’ interests in mind.

“We understand that when you make money, we make money,” Breckenridge Sgt. Eric Stremel said. “Our goals are around trying to create a nightlife here in Breckenridge where people can have a good time, but they are safe.”

Individuals who have consumed too much alcohol will often be asked or are forced to leave one establishment, only to gain access to another shortly thereafter. One of the ideas Stremel suggested was a “text tree,” wherein bar owners could send text alerts to one another when a drunken or unruly patron leaves their establishment.

Reporting incidents accurately was another tip Stremel provided for bar owners. He said bar owners too often play down the severity of an incident to save face. If an incident appears to be escalating, it’s important to contact local authorities right away.

Stremel said incidents were most prevalent at the La Cima mall, where patrons often gather after establishments are closed at night or early morning. Owners and law enforcement agreed that recently enacted laws preventing alcohol consumption outside of establishments at La Cima were helping the cause, but Stremel encouraged any bar owner or manager to call police if patrons were loitering after closing time.

Another meeting will be held next month at a date to be determined. For more information, contact the Breckenridge Police Department at (970) 453-2941 or visit the Town of Breckenridge website at

SDN reporter Drew Andersen can be contacted at (970) 668-4633 or

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