Guest commentary from Jonesboro Police Chief Michael Yates:
As you may already know we have a debate going on in town right now regarding the sale of alcohol.
Jonesboro is in a "dry" county but we still have a number of "private clubs". The fact is that we have alcohol sales in Jonesboro and unfortunately, we have some issues associated with such which require police intervention from time to time.
Unlike most cities in the US that allow alcohol sales, Jonesboro does not have any local controls other than those established by state law.
State law is not enough. One size does not fit all, and communities have a right and a responsibility to decide what standard of conduct is to be expected by its citizens. We define these standards as city ordinances, basically the rules that we want enforced here.
Our private clubs do pay taxes to the state and they do pay retail taxes when they purchase their alcohol, but those revenues go to the county where the spirits are purchased and to the state which provides a minimal return to the city of jonesboro.
Revenues from our private clubs do not offset the cost of law enforcement service required when we are needed.
You may have heard some argument about background checks of employees. It seems to me that a legitimate private club owner would want to know that an employee charged with the responsibility to sell alcohol is not a convicted felon or has been convicted of selling alcohol illegally before. Any violations of this nature in their club could jeopardize their current license. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and I, both as a citizen of Jonesboro and as the Chief of Police want to define our community differently from others.
My expectations for the quality of life here are very high and I for one am willing to take action to insure our standards remain so.