LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A legislative panel will review whether Arkansas police departments should be required to report most of their encounters at restaurants, bars and nightclubs to state alcohol regulators.
The decision comes after a shooting at Power Ultra Lounge in Little Rock that injured 28 people last month, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported .
Sen. Eddie Joe Williams, R-Cabot, said there’s a lack of communication between police and state regulators. He said he’s seeking a mandatory notification to replace the current method that allows officers to voluntarily forward reports concerning businesses with liquor licenses.
Williams said that every time police are called to a private club, their departments should report the incident, within a reasonable amount of time, to Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner said he will wait for specifics of the review before commenting on any new policy.
“I would need to see exactly what’s being asked of us, and what the intent and purpose was, before I respond to it,” Buckner said.
Boyce Hamlet, director of beverage control’s enforcement division, said he doesn’t see a communication gap between the agency and the Arkansas police departments. But he said changes “might plug some holes.”
“We appreciate any help we can get from the state House or state Senate,” Hamlet said.
A legislative panel to review the process was approved Thursday. The panel will determine whether a change would require a new law or if it could be done through a rule-making process.
Williams said the panel will submit a proposal to a Senate committee. The Legislature’s next regular session is expected to be in early 2019.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com