The LMPD policy on what off-duty officers are allowed to do while working at a nightclub is pretty clear. What’s not clear is what the definition of an on-premise operation is and how clubs that hire off-duty security guards may differ from Fourth Street Live.
Here’s the LMPD policy, as stated in the police handbook:
Members are prohibited from engaging in secondary employment as a bouncer, security guard or in any other capacity that may require an officer to invoke police authority in establishments that specialize in nightclub type entertainment or businesses that primarily sell liquor by the drink or package. This does not prohibit secondary employment in parking lots of the aforementioned establishments.
Ward Plauche, operator of the CityBlock complex, says that a double standard exists. He says that police are allowed to patrol inside at Fourth Street Live, which becomes an enclosed establishment no different than his club when it closes off the area with ropes on weekend evenings.
“You walk in and see 12 officers standing around, that’s a deterrent,” he says. “Put those officers in the parking garage and then see what happens.”
Plauche argues that the policy prohibiting the off-duty officers from going inside his establishment, and independent clubs like Phoenix Hill and Jim Porter’s, means that his club doesn’t get the same level of protection that exists at Fourth Street Live. He says last Sunday’s shooting at Jim Porter’s could have been prevented if police were allowed inside.
He says he’s gotten an assurance from Metro Councilman David Tandy that the topic is going to be discussed with police.