Euan Findlater

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City Council devises plan to reduce alcohol-related incidents downtown
The Madison City Council voted Tuesday to establish a committee that will discuss the possibility of implementing technology aimed at reducing alcohol-related incidents downtown.

A steady increase of incidents requiring police intervention has highlighted the need for increased bar and club security.

“We’ve got to do something about the drunken debauchery downtown. A few people are ruining the fun for everyone else. An ID scanning system could help identify these people and keep these troublemakers out of bars,” said Madison Police Chief Pedro Millirk.

This new ID scanning system will determine the validity of IDs and create a database of customer information. The database can be shared between different bars and will keep a record of individuals who cause problems.

Nitty Gritty manager Dan Dropper, along with other bar owners, have expressed both interest and concern about this new system.

“I don’t want to drop 2K on a machine and then have the city come back and say we can’t use ID scanners,” Dropper said. “I’m looking for a green light before I invest.”

Committee members will meet in September to develop a set of recommendations for how Dropper and other bar owners could use ID scanner technology to prevent trouble, while also balancing privacy issues.

City Council member Aryah Spark, highlights a potential legal issue regarding how businesses could store and share the information collected by the scanners.

“What is to stop the bars from selling the information off of IDs to third parties, or using the info for their own marketing agendas?” Spark said.

With the notion to prevent crime and limit privacy issues, the committee’s recommendation will allow the City Council to make an informed decision on utilizing new ID scanning system in downtown Madison.

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