Neighbors in Waterbury are demanding that the city work to make bars and nightclubs safer in the wake of a massive gun battle outside a strip club just a couple months ago.
Police say three bouncers pulled out their guns after a fight in March and opened fire across a packed parking lot. All suspects have been arrested and the place is shut down.
Surveillance footage shows the scene, and many residents say they can't ignore what happened that night.
“Something needs to change,” said David Therault, president of the Waterbury Neighborhood Council.
That’s the message he’s sending to the city of Waterbury. Therault has drawn up a plan to tighten security and handed the proposal to the Board of Aldermen.
“You have to try we deserve better here in Waterbury,” Therault said.
The propsal would require bars and clubs to hire additional security guards for large crowds. Establishments would also need to pay for background checks and police training for their bouncers.
If police get too many calls to an establishment, the owner must hire an off-duty, uniformed police officer to supervise and help keep the peace.
“Because of one bad bar everyone can get punished for it,” said Diane Cancellaro of JC Hook’s Cafe in Waterbury.
She says the measure goes too far and that the added cost isn’t fair.
“We would have to pay for this we're just a small business,” Cancellaro explained.
She's not the only one who feels that way.
“If you’re not having a problem, there’s no need to put those added costs or burdens on there,” said Board of Aldermen Chair Paul Pernerewski.
Pernerewski said the proposed ordinance would only apply to problem establishments. Right now it's only an idea and is currently being reviewed.
“As we try to bring businesses in and try to build Waterbury we want people to feel Waterbury is safe I think it’s worth taking a look at,” Pernerewski added.
City lawyers and the police chief are reviewing the proposal and will give their recommendations to the Board of Aldermen. The ordinance could go to a vote within the next few months.