Police Dept. Set to Check Local Bars

Valley City police officers will soon start checking in on local drinking establishments to make certain things are going smoothly and underaged persons are not being served.

Last week Fred Thompson, Valley City police chief, said when he came on board several months ago he was surprised to discover regular checks had not been done for several years.

In July, Thompson said, he met with all licensed owners of liquor licenses in Valley City and filled them in on the new plans.

Thompson said the majority of liquor license owners were looking forward to police periodically walking through their businesses to make sure things are going smoothly and are peaceful. Jim Veach, manager of Valley City’s Tavern Ninety Four, said Tuesday, “I don’t have any problem with it – I think it’s a good idea. It hasn’t been done before.”

Veach said he agreed with Thompson that most city bar managers and owners had no problem with periodic checks of drinking establishments.

Michelle Brendmoen, owner of the Ram, said Tuesday, “I’m fine with it, as long as it isn’t going to scare business away from us. I think it will cut down on drunk driving.”

Tom Martin manages the Valley City VFW. “I think it’s a good idea,” Martin said Tuesday. As long as they’re not doing it at midnight (when staff is working to close for the day). I don’t think they are planning to do it to nab anybody.”

Ryan Mathias, owner of the NuBar, said Tuesday, “I think it’s a good program as long as police use it properly. If they do it right, it should lead to better community relations, and it will help eliminate some of the fights breaking out in bars.”

One manager of a local establishment that serves both food and alcoholic beverages who wished to remain anonymous said he has not made up his mind whether or not the police checks were a good idea. “I will have to see how it works,” said the manager.

“The past practice in Valley City was to not do checks,” Thompson said.
Said the chief, “the officers are on board with this. They realize the deterrent capabilities of random checks.”

Thompson said as he sees it, bar patrons prone to making disturbances “might think twice about being rowdy or buying (alcoholic beverages) underaged.”

Thompson noted fights do periodically break out at Valley City bars. I think this will calm some of that (fights breaking out.)”

Thompson said he also plans to make certain all officers get matching uniforms in an attempt to have a more professional appearance for Valley City police. At present, Thompson said, officers wear a variety of different uniforms from different sources, and some of the uniforms are of better quality than are others.

“They are called uniforms and should be uniform,” Thompson said.