Rochester considers new policies for addressing alcohol-related issues downtown
Rochester is drafting a new ordinance designed to curb what officials describe as “persistent issues” during the late-night hours downtown.
On Wednesday, the city council introduced a series of measures that would not only bolster the presence of police, but also hold establishments and patrons accountable when it comes to the consumption of alcohol.
Among the changes being proposed is a provision that would allow law enforcement officers to ask individuals involved in alcohol-related violations — such as an assault or DWI — where they had their last drink of the night. Such a policy would allow the city to collect data to detect patterns and identify potential areas that need to be addressed.
Additionally, the council is also considering a banned-from-one, banned-from-all type system, along with an increased fee structure for liquor-related licenses. The extra funds generated by the licensing fees would be used to support the presence of additional police officers.
“I don’t want to have a downtown that’s not interesting and fun to be in, but I think there are some basic public safety issues that we can do a little better job with,” said Council Member Michael Wojcik.
Noting that not all places that serve alcohol are open until 2 a.m., Council Member Nick Campion suggested building a fee structure that reflects how businesses tend to impact the demand for law enforcement services.
“It’s long past due that we start to accept that there are different types of establishments and they have very different demands on our city resources,” said Campion.
The council has directed the city attorney’s office to come back with a draft ordinance based on the input provided Wednesday.
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Correction: A previous version misstated the day of the council meeting. It was held on Wednesday, not Monday, due to Martin Luther King Jr. Day.