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Scottsdale clubs must increase security presence

PHOENIX — Scottsdale bars and clubs will now be subject to stricter security requirements in the wake of the January murder of a bar’s bouncer.

The Scottsdale City Council on Tuesday approved the Public Safety Plan Ordinance by a 5-2 vote, requiring bars and clubs to increase security or be subject to fines.

“We want to make sure this is a great entertainment and tourist city,” Mayor Jim Lane said during the meeting. “Everything about this (the ordinance) goes toward how we service a very important industry to us.”

The ordinance — a direct result of the January stabbing death of Martini Ranch bouncer Tyrice Thompson, who was trying to break up a fight outside the bar — will apply to business with a capacity of more than 50 that check IDs at the door or meet any of several other city-specified standards.

Businesses will be required to staff one security guard for every 50 patrons, and if an incident involving a weapon happens on its property, a business will be required to hire at least two off-duty police officers for three months.

Each club’s security personnel will complete city-provided training, and each business will be required to submit a safety plan to police.

But while the ordinance passed, it wasn’t without resistance.

“It affects too many business-owners who didn’t do anything wrong in the first place,” Councilman Guy Phillips said. “It feels like we’re chasing a paper tiger.”

The city estimated that between 100 and 200 businesses will be affected by the ordinance, which mandates increasing fines for each violation.

“We cannot turn Scottsdale into some kind of police state to sacrifice a fun and celebratory and tourist environment,” Lane said. “We’re not there … I just want to be sure we never get to an unsafe environment.

“I think this is a great starting point.”