Wednesday, November 16, 2011

UPDATE: More ID scanners for club security

Posted By on Wed, Nov 16, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Spokesperson Rachel Beck got back to me this morning with a clarification.

In addition to SODO, 10 more of the ID scanners are now operational in other high-profile downtown clubs and bars like Southside Johnny's, the Ritz, the Mansion, Cowboys, Blondie's, Jack Quinn's and Tony's.

Guess this means that what happens in Colorado Springs clubs won't necessarily stay in Colorado Springs clubs. Take note.


SODO owner John Gowing
  • SODO owner John Gowing

If you're a dedicated Indy reader, you may remember "Out the door," an article I wrote more than a year ago about safety at downtown clubs.

At the time, SODO was the only club with a safety feature called an ID scanner.

The article noted that the system would "log the name, age and photo of every person who enters [the] club to a secure, private server (no other personal information is stored).

"If a person gets kicked out or 86ed, the system will remember. If a person commits a crime caught on security cameras in the clubs, police can subpoena the list and get the information on the suspect."

At the time, more clubs were considering adopting similar systems. Apparently, they have. Or they're going to soon. To be honest, a lot is unclear about what is going on with these scanners after a rather confusing press release from the Downtown Partnership.

We called the Downtown Partnership to clarify what clubs the scanners were already set up in, and what clubs they were being added to. But no one at the office could immediately answer the questions.

Guess we'll get back to you on that.

Downtown clubs introduce ID scanners, other measures to improve safety

In an effort to improve patron safety, downtown clubs are introducing new identification scanners. Club staff swipe a guest's ID through a handheld device that reads the driver's license or ID number and takes a current photo. The scanner immediately verifies the guest's age and the ID's validity.

The scanners allow clubs to quickly identify fake or passed IDs, as well as flag patrons involved in altercations or other unsafe behaviors. Clubs can share that information with each other and choose to bar consistent trouble-makers. Information gathered also allows police officers to follow up on any incidents with a much better chance of identifying suspects.

"This sends the message that downtown will not tolerate bad behavior," said Ron Butlin, executive director of the Downtown Partnership. "These scanners deter the very small group of people looking for trouble and ensure a better night out for everyone."

The scanners are one result of an unprecedented, multi-year partnership among the Colorado Springs Police Department, the Downtown Premier Partners (a professional association of local club owners,) and the Downtown Business Improvement District. The group has also implemented other safety measures, such as a code of conduct and dress code posted on club windows, and temporarily making Tejon Street pedestrians-only on Friday and Saturday nights.

The technology is currently used in Los Angeles, New York City, Las Vegas, Utah and Florida. Colorado Springs's use has already attracted the attention of neighboring cities looking to improve downtown safety, such as Ft. Collins.

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