One of Casper’s largest downtown bars is taking steps to prevent disorderly conduct among its patrons.
The City Council recently expressed concerns that the Gaslight Social was over-serving alcohol and, as a result, too frequently required police assistance to handle rowdy customers.
But owner Matt Galloway told the Council recently that he’s improved security.
“We are on the same page,” he said, explaining that he wants his business to be a positive asset to the city.
Last call was moved up to 1 a.m., new security cameras were installed and the staff received additional training about how to handle intoxicated customers, according to Galloway. The bar is subsequently experiencing less problems, he said. Even St. Patrick’s Day went off without a hitch.
Police were called on a few occasions in recent months, but Galloway said that was unpreventable.
“I am the busiest bar later in the evening and it’s just a reality that’s generally when more problems happen,” he explained.
Council members thanked Galloway for his efforts and told him not to hesitate to call law enforcement.
“I didn’t want you guys to feel that you can’t call the police department… My biggest nag is over-serving,” said Councilwoman Kenyne Humphrey.
Galloway said Thursday that he and his staff are always willing to work with city leaders to address any concerns they have about the bar. Many employees appreciated the additional training sessions, one of which was led by Police Chief Keith McPheeters.
“There’s a right way and a wrong way to handle over-intoxication,” said Galloway, explaining that the staff learned some valuable tips from the chief.
The 11,000-square-feet facility opened last summer and has mostly experienced a positive first year, according to Galloway. He added that the majority of the bar’s customers are responsible drinkers.
The Gaslight Social isn’t the only place in Casper that has struggled with alcohol-related problems.
Two months ago, McPheeters asked the Council to recognize that the over-service of alcohol is creating serious challenges for the city. Bar patrons who become too intoxicated eventually leave the establishment and can then create problems for other citizens and the police.
Fifty-nine percent of people in Casper who are booked into jail are intoxicated and almost half of all drivers arrested for DUIs are more than the twice the legal limit, according to the chief.
“As a community I think there is room for us to improve,” he told the Council.
Many violations are 25 points, including serving alcohol to minors, selling alcohol outside of the established hours or failing to maintain exits and emergency escapes.
Currently, the Council does not begin to take disciplinary action until a liquor license holder has reached 125 points within a one-year time frame. Disciplinary action can include anything from a brief liquor license suspension to revoking a license completely.
Vice Mayor Charlie Powell previously told the Star-Tribune that the Council appreciated the chief’s suggestions and will be re-examining the demerit system this year.