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Louisville committee finalizes late-night safety recommendations for businesses

The guide is a list of suggested best practices for businesses that sell alcohol after midnight. It's been in the works since a Metro Council resolution last year.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — At a community meeting in the Highlands this week, public safety leaders announced the Late Night Safety Advisory Committee has completed their safe practices booklet to share with bars in the area.

Last year, Metro Council passed a resolution calling for the creation of the guidelines, essentially a list of recommendations for businesses that sell alcohol after midnight. 

The guide is one of several pushes in the last two years to increase late-night safety, partially spurred by safety concerns in the Highlands.

District 8 Councilwoman Cassie chambers Armstrong's office worked with Louisville Metro Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), Louisville Metro Police and the late-night business community to come up with the recommendations.

Jared Matthews owns several area businesses, including the Fox Den in St. Matthews, and thinks it's a good step. 

"I think with any business the more education the better. Educate the bartenders, educate the security staff, educate everybody to make people feel safe about coming out and having a cocktail," he said. "This is our livelihood, this is how we make a living and if you don't do it right they could take it away." 

The guide includes recommendations for how many security guards businesses should have, and where they should be stationed. 

It also advises businesses on training procedures, like how to properly check ID's. 

"We have an app that you can scan and it'll tell if it's real or if it's fake," Matthews said. "That's something I wish they would kind of make mandatory." 

The recommendations go on to describe proactive security measures like lighting, charging stations and surveillance cameras. 

It provides guidance for businesses on how to prevent sexual assault or aggression. 

Businesses are also advised on warning signs of severe intoxication, a reminder Lauren Deines at Sidebar at Whiskey Row said even businesses that close before midnight should take into account. 

"Just knowing the warning signs before you get to a point that it's escalated out of control, making sure everyone is on the same page and knows what to look for," she said. 

Matthews said ultimately, the city and business owners share the same goals. 

"Being on board to make a place safer is what we should all be striving for," he said. 

The city's late-night guide is one of several measures taken in the last year to increase safety. 

District 8 also launched a pilot last summer, distributing drug testing kits to Highlands bars after a string of reported sexual assaults. 

The recommendations the city has laid out are all voluntary.

But according to the written goals in the guidebook, officials hope businesses will use the report to develop a comprehensive safety plan that fits their needs. 

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