Spycams in Wisconsin Bars Proposed

A community improvement coalition in Madison, Wis., is proposing that surveillance cameras be installed in bars in the city as part of a strategy to cut alcohol-related violence and other problems, the Wisconsin State Journal reported Jan. 25.

The plan from Downtown Madison Inc. also includes server training and improved interaction between staff and police. The coalition includes city officials, representatives from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, police, business owners, neighborhood leaders, and others.

“In the past, the relationship between the hospitality industry Downtown and authorities and neighborhoods has been one of reacting to incidents that occur or enforcement actions,” chairman Rick Petri said. “I’m going to do everything I can to do to convince the industry that it has to be at the table.”

Two people were killed outside Madison bars last year.

Some bar owners said the plans made sense, but the president of the Dane County Tavern League called the plan “intrusive.”

“Any individual operator is welcome to participate,” Barb Mercer said. “We as an association are not going to participate.”

“People came to the table as skeptics,” said Downtown Michigan Inc. President Susan Schmitz. “But it’s different than anything that’s been done before. There’s so much synergy here. The goal of this is a healthy downtown economy — a great place to do business and a fun place to be that is safe.”

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