Members of the Cartersville Alcohol Control Board voted unanimously Wednesday morning to recommend approval of a slate of ordinance amendments that would give Cartersville Police Department (CPD) officials greater access to businesses’ video recording systems.
One proposed ordinance amendment, Cartersville Assistant City Attorney Keith Lovell said, would be applicable to all of the City’s licensed convenience stores and package outlets.
“Basically, the police department wanted to add misdemeanors, as well, to their ability to ask for the tapes or the videos of those cameras,” Lovell said. “Because they’ve had several instances in the past where there’s been a misdemeanor occur that the license holder did not want to give to them them because they’re not required to.”
Under the proposed ordinance, businesses of the type are also required to hand over video evidence of any in-store felonies, or instances of underage alcohol purchases, to CPD officials immediately.
“Such cameras shall be maintained in proper working order at all times and shall be subject to periodic inspection by the chief of police or his designee,” the proposed ordinance amendment reads. “All films, tapes or images required by this code section shall be retained by the outlet, in its original, viewable format, for a period of no less than 30 days after recording.”
Another proposed ordinance change would require all restaurants and bars with a City of Cartersville alcohol license to maintain video recording systems monitoring on-premise consumption.
“The program has worked so well with package stores, they want to do the same thing, basically, for bars and restaurants,” Lovell said.
Under the proposed ordinance, restaurants would be required to place video monitoring equipment near the establishments' cash register areas and all exits and entrances of the businesses.
“All cameras shall be capable of producing a retrievable color image on digital film or tape that can be made a permanent record and enlarged through projection or other means,” the ordinance language reads. “All cameras must be in working order and checked by the licensee on a weekly basis. A log of said checks and repairs, if any, are to be kept and provided to the Cartersville Police Department on a quarterly basis.”
Lovell said, if ultimately approved by the Cartersville City Council, the ordinance would take effect on Jan. 1.
“Although most bars and restaurants already have a video system, there may be some that don’t and the police department wanted to be able to go by and talk to all of them and let them get up to speed before this ordinance actually went into effect,” he said.
The board also recommended approval of a proposed ordinance amendment that would allow the City to suspend or revoke the alcohol licenses of businesses that are convicted of gambling offenses.
The ordinance is not applicable to the sale of Georgia Lottery tickets via a licensed dealer, nor does it apply to legally-operated raffles or bingo halls.
“Mainly, it deals with video poker machines,” Lovell said. “That’s where most of the issues related to alcohol is. A lot of package stores have those in them, some of them illegally pay out prizes which are greater than the limits allowed by State law.”
All three proposed ordinance amendments are slated for a first reading before the Cartersville City Council on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. at 10 North Public Square.