Parks again rejects Durbin's call for earlier night club closings
East St. Louis mayor Alvin Parks is again rejecting a call from Sen. Dick Durbin to institute an earlier closing time for the city’s night clubs and liquor stores
Durbin was in his hometown on Wednesday encouraging area ministers to push Parks for a 1 a.m. closing time. Durbin believes it would help curb the killings in a city that a federal prosecutor has called the nation’s most dangerous.
When it’s “last call” on weekends for St. Louis bars and clubs, East St. Louis’ nightlife is just getting started. The city’s slack liquor laws allow nightclubs and liquor stores to operate well into the morning. Many critics say the laws are the root of the city’s chronic violent crime.
The problem poses a delicate balancing act for Mayor Alvin Parks who says East St. Louis’ late-night entertainment industry is keeping the city alive.
East St. Louis nightclubs and other local businesses are bankrolling extra weekend police patrols after a series of violent crimes.
Mayor Alvin Parks Jr. says the city needs more officers on the street but cannot afford them on its own.
“This is taking already existing officers and paying them to work this special detail," Parks said. "A detail that will be about six officers downtown and another two in the rest of the city where there might be late night activity.”
A U.S. senator is stepping up his efforts to limit nightclub hours in East St. Louis.
Sen. Dick Durbin said Monday that earlier closing times for nightclubs and liquor stores would improve safety for city residents. The Illinois Democrat specifically challenged Mayor Alvin Parks Jr. to do his part in reducing crime rates. (Read the full letter from Durbin to Parks).