It may be last call for Erie County's 4 a.m. bar closing time — at least, if two of Western New York's most prominent police unions have their way.
The New York State Troopers and Erie County Sheriff's Police Benevolent Association joined Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs Tuesday to support a plan to make bars shut down at 2 a.m.
“Since this discussion began several months ago, it has become apparent that many neighborhood and civic groups are supportive because they believe it will also improve the quality of life in neighborhoods located in proximity to these late night establishments,” said Jacobs.
Troopers union secretary Jack Moretti defended an earlier closing, saying the City of Buffalo specifically has to accommodate its white collar citizens.
“Buffalo’s changing. There’s more loft apartments. There’s a lot of things happening in the City of Buffalo where it’s taking a new image, new character from a blue collar to a white collar city,” said Moretti. “I think with the 4 o’clock closing and the problems that occur from patrons leaving the bar early morning, I think the residents need some support also in the area for this 2 o’clock closing.”
Moretti also said it’s a matter of public safety.
“I think logically, you’d have to think that more problems occur after 2 o’clock to 4 o’clock. Bar fights, in and outside in the streets," said Moretti. "Things get out of hand after 2 a.m.”
When asked about night workers who don't leave their shifts until midnight, Moretti said he thinks two hours is plenty of time for them to go out and unwind.
Opponents of the proposal say Erie's DWI arrests are already lower than the state average, including surrounding counties with 2 a.m. bar closing times.