IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - The City of Idaho Falls is considering adding a regular patrol car near downtown businesses. Local business owners have been petitioning the city to help maintain the safe, fun and welcoming environment of downtown Idaho Falls.
"Everyone works so hard to create an atmosphere of vitality and energy," Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corporation Executive Director Debora King said. "It looks great. We need to make sure that we have the infrastructure in place to to handle the increased number of folks coming downtown and ensuring the safety of residents and visitors alike."
One of the main concerns is when daytime shoppers trade places with Idaho Fall's nightlife and when it spills onto the sidewalks. Bar owners are allowed to take care of rowdy patrons inside their bars, but once they are on the sidewalk it's out of the owners' hands.
Idaho Falls Arts Council Director Brandi Newton says their neighbors at the local bars do their best to manage their patrons, but can be overwhelmed without the city's help.
"It's our personal opinion that they're (bar owners are) following the rules," Newton said. "They're trying to limit what people are doing and making sure that no one's over-served or doing too much. But once you take care of those inside, they go out on the street."
Fords bar owner, Shane Dial, says as business owners he and the other bar owners work together to create a fun and safe atmosphere, but would appreciate extra help.
"We do have an issue with people loitering around after closing hours and kind of just hanging out there," Dial said. "So the increased police presence will really help kind of limit that issue that we have with people just being outside and knowing that we can't do anything to them. So they just kind of get to do what they want out there."
He says the additional police presence will discourage rowdy patrons from ruining the atmosphere.
"All the business owners downtown have put a lot of time, money, effort into making downtown the way it is," Dial said. "And we'd like to see that not be thwarted by somebody who just wants to grab a spray paint or jump on a scooter and try to kill somebody."