Our View: Good call for last call

Bar break crackdown

Good call for last call: More police to work downtown

At least eight more Anchorage police officers, some walking the sidewalks and some cruising the streets, will patrol downtown Anchorage during the wee hours on weekends when bars spill out their patrons at closing and some alcohol-fueled knuckleheads sometimes look for trouble.

This is good news.

Sometimes the scene is just rowdy. But shootings and assaults have marked some bar breaks, making closing time a dicey time to be downtown.

After meetings with police, downtown business owners and bar owners, Mayor Dan Sullivan announced that the reinforced police presence begins this weekend.

The idea is to be visible and thus pre-empt rather than react. A strong police presence should be at least some deterrent to bad behavior, and if deterrence doesn't work, more officers should mean a swifter cap on violence and less chance of people being seriously hurt.

Most of all, the goal is to keep the peace downtown. People of all ages should be able to enjoy a night out downtown and feel safe at any hour, no matter how busy the streets get when the bars close.

The biggest problem at bar break should be how it long it takes to get a cab, or for a designated driver to collect everyone in his group and pour them safely into their seats. We shouldn't have to worry about gunfire and assaults, and shouldn't tolerate a downtown scene that gets out of hand on a regular basis.

Good luck and thanks to the officers on duty. May their presence alone suffice to keep the peace.

BOTTOM LINE: More police on scene at downtown bar break is a good idea.