Story Behind the Story: More on the Bar Card controversy

A reporter's blog about the story behind the story:

Sometime's you just walk into a hornet's nest. Complex stories feel the same way.

The City of Savannah's Bar Card program has many layers and plenty of business complaints.

Businesses in the story complained about a lack of response from Savannah-Chatham police to calls when they have underage people try and sneak in or they confiscate an ID.

SCMPD spokesman Gene Harley responded to the allegations:

"The following is in response to your question concerning underage drinking.  

Local bars seldom have Metro Officers working in an off-duty capacity. When an officer is not working at the bar, an employee of the bar typically seizes the fake identification. For the most part, these identifications are NOT turned over to police, nor does the bar immediately call law enforcement to report the incident. In cases where the identification is turned over to law enforcement, the identifications are destroyed.  No follow up is conducted by the police due to the identity of the person who possessed the identification being unknown.  

In cases where Metro Officers are working off-duty at a bar and a person is found to be in possession of a fraudulent ID, the officer holds the right to make an arrest.  The important to thing to note in this is Possession of a Fraudulent ID is a Felony in the State of GA. "

There are many questions still unanswered about the bar cards because details of the program are still evolving, changing and are unfinished.

City manager Michael Brown stated the city wants to focus on high risk establishments rather than restaurants.

However, critics are quick to point out that last October, three businesses had employees who were caught serving minors after a sting operation. One was Wild Wing Cafe, which will be included in the bar card program.

The other two violations occurred at two popular, family restaurants that also serve alcohol.

I promise to stay on top of this story until every question is answered.

In the meantime, to read my full story see, Savannah "Bar Card" rules cause concerns for businesses.

:: Don Logana - bio | email

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