Fraternal Order of Eagles Looking at Changes

March 6, 2007--Posted at 6:15 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR--A phone call by Jonesboro Police Chief Mike Yates to the national president of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles prompts an impromptu visit and the shutdown of the private club.

Eagles national president Bill Loffer said the Jonesboro chapter isn't the only location that has had problems.

However, he did say that if it was a Friday or Saturday night, he wouldn't bring his family to the club.

He feels recent criminal incidents at the club have drawn focus away from the organization's goal of community service.

"We raise 100 million dollars a year that we give to charity and that is just scratching the surface," said Loffer.

Loffer says the organization is built on service and charity and that you don't have to look very far to find a chapter that is giving back to the community.

"This one right here, they give to the police, the firemen, sheriffs and little league," said Loffer.

However of late the private clubs rap sheet has overshadowed its good works.

"They're doing those types of things the right way, but it's the nightclub atmosphere that has caused the concerns," said Loffer.

The Fraternal Order of Eagles has over 1700 locations worldwide; however the Jonesboro location is truly unique, because it is the only location that has both a metal detector and a security team.

"They're good people, just in a situation that they need assistance, here's a chance for us to offer assistance," said Loffer.

Loffer's trip to Jonesboro has included meetings with trustees and members working towards key changes to make the Eagles more of a family environment.

"I can tell you right now that they won't be open past two o'clock again," said Loffer.

The major change being discussed involves limiting who will be allowed to enter the Eagles.

"All over the country we have Eagles clubs that are if you are not a member you don't get in the door. There are benefits to being a member and when you have the general public coming in that doesn't understand those benefits, it ruins it for the membership," said Loffer.

While the parking lot remains empty and the doors are still locked, there is hope the Eagles will fly again.

"I will say at this time that our plan is not to permanently close it," said Loffer.

Loffer didn't offer an estimate as to how long the Eagles would remain closed. He did say that he would be meeting with some of the local trustees Tuesday to discuss more of those proposed changes.