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Fewer Police Patrols on Washington Ave This Weekend

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(KMOX/Michael Calhoun)

(KMOX/Michael Calhoun)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Changes are coming to the Washington Avenue patrol.

“The increased (St. Louis) police presence you’ve seen there the last three weeks is now going to be decreased” said Lt. Col. Lawrence O’Toole.

He says that beefed-up presence can not continue “We can not sustain it because we have other responsibilities throughout the city and we shouldn’t sustain it.” said O’Toole.

This weekend there will be more private security guards. They will be hired by the bars and nightclubs along Washington Avenue. There are 18 of them between 10th and 14th Streets.

He says that unsustainability factor raises a bigger question: What to do about security needs as the popularity of Washington Avenue continues to grow.

O’toole says there is a study underway that will result in recommendations, perhaps in the form of new ordinances or an entertainment tax to pay for the added security.  Another possible recommendation:  put a moratorium on new liquor licenses that allow establishments to remain open until 3 a.a.  A committee is studying those possibilities and ways to deal with the increased popularity.  Lt. Col. O’Toole would also like to see changes to protect pedestrians at Washington and Tucker.

New ordinances could also deal with noise or loitering.  E-mails that the city has received show noise and loitering are the biggest complaints raised.

This weekend Lt. Col. O’Toole says there will be road closures and they may barricade west bound Washington Avenue.

Lt. Col. O’Toole said there will continue to be a St. Louis Police presence but it will be reduced and there will be a weekly review to determine what part city police will play.

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