During a Fells Point Task Force meeting last Wednesday, Major William Davis, commander of the Southeastern District of the Baltimore Police Department, said that a “ton” of the district’s energy is focused on Fell’s Point during bar closing time on weekends.
“It generally takes at least Sector 1, which is five cars and a supervisor, to clear Fell’s Point when bars close,” Davis said.
Additionally, two officers work overtime on Friday and Saturday nights to assist in clearing Fell’s Point, Davis added.
Davis was at the Task Force meeting, as was Lieutenant Deron Garrity of Southeastern District Operations to discuss disturbances at bars and taverns. Stephan Fogleman, chair of the Board of Liquor License Commissioners, also attended.
The Board of Liquor License Commissioners regulates the sale, storage, and distribution of alcohlic beverages in the city. Inspectors are hired to visit establishments licensed to sell liquor to ensure that those establishments are abiding by Liquor Board rules—i.e. not serving to minors and not overserving patrons.
Task Force member Victor Corbin of the Fell’s Prospect Community Association, who lives near a bar and says that he frequently deals with noise and disturbances, asked Fogleman why only one inspector is assigned at night.
“There are supposed to be two,” replied Fogleman. “Those guys don’t carry guns, so they like to stick together.”
Fogleman added that the Liquor Board is currently undergoing a performance audit by the state.
“I do expect that they’ll probably point out some improvements needed in the inspections division,” said Fogleman.
Task Force member Joanne Masopust, representing the Fell’s Point Community Organization, asked both the Davis and Fogleman what their departments do about the overserving of bar patrons.
“It’s a violation of Liquor Board rules,” replied Fogleman, though he added that it is a very difficult violation to enforce. “It’s catch it as you can,” he said.
Corbin, who said he has personally witnessed two hit-and-run accidents, asked what the Southeastern Police District is doing about drunk driving.
“I don’t think it’s a real big secret that the Baltimore Police Department hasn’t been doing a whole heck of a lot for DWI’s,” said Davis, adding that a sobriety checkpoint in Fell’s Point would be a traffic nightmare.
Nevertheless, Davis said that the Baltimore Police Department had been in contact with the Maryland Transportation Authority regarding future sobriety checkpoints.
As it gets to be more of a problem, we can focus on it more,” said Davis.
by Erik Zygmont