Making Vicksburg safer a top priority

Published 9:00 pm Wednesday, January 3, 2018

We applaud the action taken by Mayor George Flaggs and Police Chief Milton Moore to halt business at the lounge at L.D.’s Kitchen until such a time as both could be confident of the safety of patrons there and others who happen to be near the business.

On Christmas Eve, five people were shot and wounded at an incident at the business, the second shooting incident there in less than a year.

Flaggs and Moore demanded owner Larry Prentiss close the lounge until he could present a plan to upgrade security and better assure the safety of patrons. The restaurant portion of Prentiss’s business was allowed to remain open.

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We also applaud Prentiss for working quickly with city officials to put such a plan in place.

On Tuesday morning, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved the safety and security agreement, called a memorandum of understanding, between the business and the city.

Under the agreement, the lounge portion of the business will not open until 5 p.m. daily and security guards using hand-held metal detectors will screen all customers, including those who leave the business and later return, and all customers who have to enter through the building’s front door.

Security guards also will monitor the parking lot. The minimum age to enter the lounge will be 25 and security will check IDs.

Prentiss has also agreed to install video cameras in and outside the business and make recordings available to police, install a walk-through metal detector, upgrade security, train its staff on new safety procedures, redecorate and organize furniture to keep walkways clear. Prentiss will also repaint the interior a lighter color to increase visibility inside. All of these changes must be made by Jan. 31.

Further, all exit doors must be changed to push bar emergency exits with sirens by July 1.

We are pleased that a Vicksburg business will remain open, and patrons and others will be safer because of this agreement.