Is Jonesboro's Alcohol Ordinance Working?

JONESBORO - "The ordinance itself is just a little part of it, but it does establish some accountability, and it seems to be working well," said Jonesboro Police Chief Mike Yates.

That's refreshing for Yates after the plan was met with much opposition back in March.

"They all want to have a descent business, and having violence, crazy stuff, and bad things going on is not good for business. It's in nobody's best interest to allow that mess to go on," said Yates.

He says since doors of alcohol serving establishments began closing at 2:00 a.m., there's been about a 50 to 60-percent decrease in the amount of fights and other alcohol related incidents.

"Aggravated assaults and things of that nature that we were typically getting in some of our clubs in years past has gone to practically zero," said Yates.

Business managers like Wayne Odom of the Brickhouse Grill in Downtown Jonesboro say, while they don't enjoy having to pay the three-percent alcohol tax, it's all part of business.

"If it's helping create city jobs, or anything that moneys going to to make the community safer, whether it be related to alcohol or not. Taxes are taxes, and we just pay what we need to pay," said Odom.

But what about the new closing hour of 2:00 a.m.?

"There's dinner and then there's a nightlife. I think 2:00 is plenty of time for people to get the nightlife in before they need to get home anyways," said Odom.

It's that attitude of alcohol serving establishments that has led to a program that at least for now, seems to be working.

"I think everyone has accepted that as doing a normal part of business. We've moved on down the road. The fact of the matter is, at least this combination of circumstances has worked, and I don't think anyone can argue that," said Yates.

Chief Yates says he's happy between the relationship of the Police Department and the businesses now serving alcohol.

He says he owes a lot of the cooperation to new ownership and management of several of the locations.

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