Bar owners to pay for off-duty officer to crack down on noise

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SARASOTA, Fla. - During the day, Tequila Cantina in downtown Sarasota is a peaceful place to have lunch with friends. But when the sun goes down, it's a different atmosphere.

"It's a bar, it's a bar area, it's where people socialize," said Sunday Feriozzi who likes to socialize on Main Street. He doesn't like the idea of any noise ordinance.

"I think if people want peace and quiet they should move someplace other than downtown. because downtown is what's happening, that's where we go to have our fun," he said as he sipped a beer at Noon.

But faced with the possibility of a further noise crackdown, owners of Smokin' Joe's, Tequila Cantina and Ivory are paying to hire an off-duty officer to walk the streets. And they'll be armed...with a noise meter.

"This would be the businesses all working together to contribute to pay for a police officer to work off duty. They would still work for the department, and not enforce alcohol issues, but enforce noise issues on this block in this area," said Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino.

The police chief says the biggest problems are around last call at 2am.

"Those are the times when the most significant complaints are, because that's when people are sleeping, and when they're being woken up is when the bar is letting out," she said.

Ann and Walter Bladstrom live near downtown but don't hear any noise.

"We think it's good if there is a lot of business downtown," Ann Bladstrom.

And Angelika Milonas is here from Ft. Lauderdale where the city has struggled for years to clam things down.

"They tried to shut down certain nightclubs and live bands to try to quiet things down," she recalls.

The bar owners are working right now to hire an off-duty officer who will be able to make arrests, and carry a hand gun...and a noise meter.