A popular local hotspot has seen recurring problems at closing time recently, and Sandusky police are aiming to nip any future issues in the bud.
Trouble has been brewing outside Milan Road Bar and Grill this month — a man was arrested just outside the establishment on Aug. 10 after allegedly firing off a gun, and two more were arrested this past Sunday for general unruliness and failing to leave the area.
Recent police reports also mention large crowds — comprised of an estimated 150 to 250 people — who loiter and are reluctant to disperse even after multiple officers respond to the area.
Sandusky police Chief John Orzech is well aware of the emerging issue, and will meet with the establishment's manager today to hash out a tentative plan of action.
The bar's management has worked in tandem with Orzech's department to quell the problems, he said Tuesday.
The past few weekends, they've phoned police to let them know when the crowd is letting out and asked officers to stand by.
“They didn't want there to be problems, so they called us to do a swing-through and see if we can move people along,” Orzech said.
But that solution can't be a permanent one.
“We aren't security patrol for the bars. We don't want to be sitting outside a location from 30 minutes to an hour, and also having to tax other jurisdictions' resources to clear out a crowd,” Orzech said, referring the mutual aid required from neighboring agencies in recent weekends.
Orzech doesn't believe the issue necessarily stems from patrons enjoying a night of drinking — there are plenty of bars around town where people indulge.
Rather, Sandusky's top cop believes the problems occur when people opt to linger in the vicinity after they've had their fill.
“People don't seem to hang around (after closing) at a lot of other bars,” Orzech said. “It seems to be that when people are drinking and then congregating outside, they start talking over the top of each other, yelling, screaming or causing a scene. Then you multiply that by 100 or 200 people at 2:30 in the morning — it's just not the peacefulness we want in our community.”
At today's meeting, Orzech hopes to discuss some kind of fix with the bar's manager.
“We've had different strategies with different locations and different cooperation from bars in the past," Orzech said. "We'll throw out what's worked and what hasn't, and see if we can come up with some type of solution."
“We're trying to maintain peace without having the perception that we're just out harassing people,” he said.