Downtown Orlando business owners offer the city suggestions on how to deal with safety issues

ORLANDO, Fla. — Business owners have offered the city of Orlando new, more specific suggestions to deal with safety issues in downtown Orlando.


Channel 9 reported earlier this month that the city is considering two ordinances aimed at improving safety, including an additional permit for businesses that want to sell alcohol after midnight.

The businesses feel some of the city’s proposed permit requirements are overbearing, including the requirement to pay Orlando police officers for extra-duty.

They said they believe the Orlando Police Department should hire more full-time officers that can be paid at a regular rate and be trained specifically to work in downtown.

Police have set up checkpoints and added extra officers in response to high-profile violent incidents in downtown in recent years at the cost of $40,000 a weekend.

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Earlier this month, the city proposed a moratorium on new downtown nightclubs.

A new permit for businesses that sell alcohol after midnight that would require hiring off-duty police officers for businesses with room for 50 or more people.

It would also require walk-though metal detectors and licensed security at each entrance.

Monica McCown is vice president of the Orlando Hospitality Alliance Board, which comprises more than 250 restaurants, bars, nightclubs and venues.

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“We want to make sure that the rules are very clear and objective and that it’s not an undue financial burden on just a few businesses,” she said.

The group has made 10 suggestions to the city, including not requiring businesses to hire extra-duty officers and requiring police to hire more officers to work downtown at regular pay.

“We really want to see full-time, fresh officers that are actually specially trained for downtown Orlando,” McCown said.

To help cover the cost, the group has also proposed a 5% surcharge on alcohol sold in the downtown corridor.

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It also wants to do away with the metal detector component, saying that some historic buildings have as many as 12 entrances that would be difficult to staff.

They have also asked to meet with city officials again to look into the details of the proposed ordinance and discuss their proposed suggestions.

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Jason Kelly

Jason Kelly, WFTV.com

Jason Kelly joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2014. He serves as the station's Digital Executive Producer.

Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.

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