Greensboro City Councilmember Justin Outling, who is running for mayor in 2022, is not a supporter of the proposed Safety Review Board.
The board, which would meet to make recommendations on enhanced security measures for bars and restaurants after a “violent incident,” was first presented to the City Council in a memo last week as something the city staff was in the process of doing without City Council approval.
However, on Monday, Dec. 20, a resolution in support of the Safety Review Board was added to the City Council agenda.
Outling said, “Stakeholders and others in the community are not being given an opportunity to offer their opinions.”
He added, “Even councilmembers that are going to vote on it don’t have sufficient amount of time to talk about it and get questions answered.”
Outling said, “The Safety Review Board process raises legal questions that I would like to talk to staff about.”
Outling said that a business that doesn’t follow the recommendations of the Safety Review Board, even if it was through no fault of their own, could open themselves up to lawsuits that would be difficult and expensive to defend.
He noted that one of the possible recommendations listed in the memo was requiring a bar or restaurant to hire security guards, but that currently there is a shortage of security guards. He said that hiring off-duty police officers was extremely difficult because the Greensboro Police Department is so understaffed that many are working overtime and don’t have time for off-duty work.
Outling said, “You’re not going to be able to hire an armed guard even if you want to and that could expose them to a lot more liability.”
Outling also said that he objected to the proposal because it was reactive instead of proactive.
He said, “The city already has a lot of tools to be reactive and that process works very quickly.”
Outling said, “This policy is lacking in logic and fundamental fairness.”
He explained that it was focusing only on restaurants and bars when those businesses are not the primary locations for violent crimes in the city.
Outling said, “Small business owners are the backbone of our community and we need to support them, not make their jobs harder.”