On behalf of Mayor Richard J. Berry, Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz announced a new enforcement plan Friday evening March 2, 2012 for the city’s downtown bar district.
Albuquerque - Under the new plan, which began at 10 p.m. Friday, the number of Albuquerque police officers will be tripled on weekends and certain holidays, numerous streets will be blocked off and there will be a new taxi only lane operating down Central Ave to allow easy access for bar-goers to get cabs. The police department will continue the new enforcement effort through the summer.
“This is not permanent,” Chief Schultz said. “We are going to continue to work with business owners to make sure they attract people who want to come to downtown and have a good time - not people who want to cause trouble. For the past several days the Mayor and I have had numerous discussions over how we can make downtown more enjoyable for people who want to visit and have a good time.”
The enforcement effort includes:
- Closing Central from Third to Fifth; closing Central access from Fifth and Sixth streets; closing Fourth Street from Gold to Central
- Officers patrolling in zones.
- Officers cracking down on drivers who cruise the downtown bar district.
- At least two mounted patrol officers working the downtown district.
- The department’s street gang unit patrolling the perimeter of the district.
- Tactical units patrolling the downtown area as part of their regular duty assignments.
- Purchasing temporary speed bumps and deploying them where needed.
- Deploying an elevated observation post that can be used to monitor the crowd’s activity.
The new enforcement is being done with little extra cost. Units are adjusting their hours or changing their assignments. The rest of the city will have the same coverage that it always has.
In addition, the Albuquerque Fire Department will be conducting Night inspections in the downtown bar district. The City’s Fire Marshal's office will be looking to see if exit signs are properly lit, if there are any overcrowding issues, if fire alarms, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are properly working and whether certain buildings have working sprinkler systems. They will also be checking to see if bars are properly counting the number of patrons that enter their business.
The Safe City Strike Force will also be patrolling downtown looking for nuisance related issues. They will be writing citations for loud music and looking for any city ordinance violations
APD will also be assisted by the New Mexico Department of Public Safety Special Investigations Division, which will specifically be looking at establishments that over serve patrons. The taverns will face citations that could affect their liquor license.