Breaking News
More () »

Coeur d'Alene bars partner with police to curb alcohol-related crimes

Coeur d'Alene experienced a surge in alcohol-related crimes last winter when bars stayed open during the pandemic. Now, CDA police have reported an improvement.

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — Back in February, Coeur d’Alene Police had to increase enforcement in downtown Coeur d’Alene due to a surge in alcohol related crimes in the area. Now nine months later, the situation has improved because of the partnership police formed with bar owners.  

Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said four bars in particular — Mik’s, the Beacon, the Moose Lounge and the Iron Horse — were the most popular locations for alcohol related calls. Those four establishments alone received 122 calls in the first two months of the year.  

“Because we had spent so much time in the downtown area dealing with alcohol and we weren't able to provide service to the rest of the city like we normally do,” CDA PD Captain Jeff Walther said.  

According to Walther, increased population on weekends and over service at bars were the main contributing factors to the surge in calls.  

As police worked to curb these crimes, Walther said they found that some bars did not have training or resources to understand when someone was overserved.  

So the department started meeting regularly with the bar owners and formed a partnership that eventually would stop over service.  

“Not overreaching as a government entity was important to us,” Walther said. “So really getting them to sit down and giving them ideas on what model successful looks like, what different environmental things that they can do to curb that crime and help us establishing communication, not with just the police department, but between each other when they have a problem to let the neighboring bar know hey, we just had this problem, they are headed your way, can help solve this.” 

When the situation was at its worst, Coeur d’Alene City Council made disorderly conduct illegal. This gave police an additional tool to curb alcohol-related crimes.  

But Captain Walther believes the relationships the department built with the bar owners made the biggest impact.  

"Our violent crime is down, and it's a safer place to be than it was even a year ago,” Walther said.  

The downtown bars impacted by this situation agree that things are much better now. They did not want to go on camera, but one owner said over the phone that he believes communication and reinforcing policies helped make downtown once again a safe and fun area.  

Paid Advertisement

Before You Leave, Check This Out