Charleston police to move officers from bar district to problem-plagued neighborhoods

Red Solo cup

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This may go down in history as the worst column I've ever written, one that will likely be filled crimes against grammar and numerous and nearly unavoidable misspelkings. See, it's started already.

See, I'm tired. Really really tired. And I'm afraid that I'm just not operating at the top of my game, which is particularly bad considering that I've been proofing copy all day. Somewhere along the line I've probably failed to notice that a writer has written "pubic" instead of "public" and that mistake will be sent to the printer and for an entire weak the issue will hang around my neck like a dad albatoss.

Last night, I slept nary a wink. I'm not sure why exactly. I just woke up at midnight — I'm an early bedder and riser — and didn't fall back to sleep until after four. The wife and the girls were up at five and the dogs at six. Needless to say, those were not quiet ours.

So believe me when I say this, when it comes to the kindly moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, who call the neighborhoods around the CofC home, I fill you pain. I know what it's like to wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to go back to sleep.

I'm not sure what did it to me last night — maybe I had put way too much coke in my bourbon — but I can't imagine what these long-suffering souls go through each and every Red Solo Cup night, when the streets of Harlston Village, Radcliffeborough, and Mazyck Wraggborough are under siege by the Holy City horde of unholy college-aged boozers and blowheads.

I can't imagine what it must be like to live through the high-volume cocaine cackles, the boisterous beer-soaked laughs, the unmistakeable mating cry of "I'm so fucking shit-faced, bro. Hit me, dude. Come on, hit me. I won't feel it."

I can't imagine how you live, or why you would want to, especially not around these mindless, marauding miscreants. If it was me, I would've moved by know. Surely, you are made of Howard Sterner stuff than me. And for that, I applaud you and I wish you the best of luck in your quixotic quest to rid the neighborhoods around CofC of college students.

However, I must say I have some serious issues with how the City of Charleston and the Charleston Police Department plan to do it. Consider me surprised to find out that the recently passed Late Night Entertainment Establishment Ordinance factors into all of this.

As you no, I'm know fan of the Late Night Ordinance, and after reading yesterday's P&C report on the post-party pestilence that haunts Harleston Village, eat all, I hate this ordinance even more. The City of Charleston may say that this ordinance won't require bars to police sidewalks and streets and parking lots, but it's clear that's what the Chief Greg Mullen and Mayor Riley want to happen. Andrew Knapp reports:

Residents of downtown neighborhoods near the College of Charleston liken the atmosphere that keeps them awake on weekends to the movie “Animal House” or New Orleans’ Bourbon Street.

The primary culprit, they say: students leaving King Street bars or house parties, and walking to their rental homes or parked cars in nearby communities.

Their complaint isn’t new, but it’s one they say has snowballed as more bars and restaurants populate the Holy City’s entertainment districts. While city and college officials insist that current programs keep the problem in check, the residents think the issue could endanger Charleston’s reputation as a mannerly, world-class city.

The residents summoned the college last month to increase policing around the campus and the city to boost patrols in neighborhoods, not just on corridors such as King Street. But they were met with hesitation from the school, they said.

A new ordinance requiring bars to bolster their own security forces should free up police officers to handle the concerns, Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen said. By the year’s end, Mullen also aims to get funding for another dozen officers to complement those patrols.

Knapp adds:

For the city’s police chief and Mayor Joe Riley, the new ordinance requiring bars to hire larger security staffs is a good start. Mullen said the measure will free up the eight officers assigned to King Street to disperse into the communities.

So let me get his straight: Riley and Mullen want to take cops off of King Street and move them to the neighborhoods, and they want bars owners to take care of the mess they leave behind. Seriously, that's exactly what is being said here.

After all, how else will these newly beefed up bar "security forces" be able to address the problem of bad student behavior outside of their bars without having to act as de facto police officers? It's almost as if the City wants trouble on King Street, and so they are leaving it to the bars to keep the peace.

And if they don't, well, as I've said before, you can bet your bottom's last dollar that any bars that don't will not be getting their business licences renewed.

NOTE: It's also worth pointing out that Mullen previously said that city accommodations taxes would be used to hire eight new officers to patrol the Upper King Entertainment District, which of course strikes me as odd, since the chief now wants to move eight officers from King Street into the neighborhoods.

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