Excerpted from a Journal Star post by Thomas Brunch
A Downtown Peoria night club has instituted a new policy that will include running a one-time criminal background check on customers seeking to enter the club.
Saddle Up, a country-themed club at 116 SW Jefferson Ave. that is open until 4 a.m. on weekends, implemented the program for the first time last Saturday, according to owner Ty Seibert. No specific instance at the club prompted the new policy, Seibert said, but he did point toward incidents that have occurred at other businesses in the last six months, such as Golden Corral and Round 1 Bowling and Amusement.
“I just want to be proactive instead of reactive,” Seibert said. “I just want to protect the people that want to go out and have a good time.”
Describing it as a pilot program called “Club in Confidence,” Seibert said the process begins, as usual, with an employee verifying that the photo identification matches the appearance of the customer.
Then the bar code on the back of the ID will be scanned with an advanced identification device, which will run a criminal background check that lasts no more than 30 seconds in search of arrests for “violent” crimes. If any arrests are detected within the last seven years, the handheld device will update and the potential customer will be denied entry. Those that pass the background check will also trigger an update on the device that will allow them to bypass the check on future visits to the club.
The device only checks for arrests of a violent nature and not convictions, Seibert said, because arrest information is readily accessible online. As far as what constitutes a violent arrest, Seibert said any offense involving a weapon will fall under that umbrella — including armed robbery and burglary — as well as attempted murder, aggravated battery and mob action. Though not commonly known as a violent offense, Seibert said, multiple incidents of resisting arrest will also fall under that category.
“If you’re not going to listen to a police officer, you’re probably not going to listen to me,” Seibert said.
During the first implementation of the policy last Saturday, seven people were denied entry, according to Seibert. The background check at Saddle Up will only occur after midnight on Saturday nights. It does not yet extend to the other Downtown Peoria club Seibert owns, Lava Tiki Lounge, but he intimated that it would in the future.
“I’m just waiting to see how it goes and the reaction from people,” Seibert said.
You can read the full post here.