Brockport Police Chief Daniel Varrenti sent the following email to the Village Board and to other leaders in the community, in response to an email of support from David Markham.
My football coaches throughout my life always taught me to turn a negative into a positive. I believe we are collectively in the process of making this a reality.
First, on Monday morning I held a debriefing to discuss how the event of Saturday night/Sunday morning could have been dealt with better. I made split second decisions that night that I stand behind however in hindsight I should have closed the bars one at a time. So I learned something as a result and won’t make that mistake again.
Today I held a meeting with all bar owners. I also invited the Mayor, the code enforcement officer and people from the college. Every single bar owner(s) came to the meeting along with the Mayor, two representatives from the college, our code enforcement officer and one of his assistants.
The meeting was set up by Police Lieutenant Mark Cuzzupoli, who also attended the meeting
During the meeting I was able to factually explain what occurred last Sunday morning. Not surprisingly, not very many people knew what, or why I did what I did on Sunday morning. The college rep after the meeting came up to me and said “no wonder you did what you did…we had no idea.”
At the beginning of the meeting I stated that by the end of the meeting we either come up with action items that we are all willing to implement; or one by one, through NYSLA referrals, I’ll close bars one by one if they violate the law which they all know I can and will do if forced to. Believe me you could have heard a pin drop.
By the time the meeting ended the following was decided:
That all bars and restaurants that serve alcohol must NOT exceed the occupancy limits which they clearly have not been doing.
Bar owners requested that police officers periodically walk through bars to spot check for intoxicated people and fake identifications.
That the BPD will increase foot patrol during late night hours, when staffing and time permits.
That I will host a meeting between all parties at this meeting, in advance of a major function in the village, in order to formulate unilateral and all inclusive action plans and back up plans.
That we will meet after a major event to debrief and critique.
That the BPD and NYSLA will supply training to bar owners and “bouncers” as to how to identify fake identifications.
Bar owners and I shared our displeasure to the college reps that the college has chosen to stop late night bus pick up and in fact one bar owner pointedly stated how that contributed to the problem Sunday morning.
And last but not least that we will meet at least twice a semester to discuss general topic issues.
So while it may not be utopia it’s a lot better than we were Sunday night and I feel comfortable that finally we just might have turned the corner. If we haven’t turned the corner then we will do something different but failure and giving up is NOT an option.