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Fort City Council Deliberates Ordinance Altering Punishment For Alcohol Violation

Tuesday night, the Fort Atkinson City Council deliberated over an ordinance to amend Section 6-35 of the City of Fort Atkinson Municipal Code. According to Police Chief Adrian Bump, the ordinance would alter the way businesses that serve alcohol would be punished for patrons leaving with open intoxicants. He says currently, the offense would be processed at the state level as a misdemeanor and be prosecuted through the Wisconsin Circuit Court. With this ordinance, the offense would instead be processed at a local level as an ordinance violation, which would lead to a much lighter punishment.

Bump says the Fort Atkinson Police have a positive relationship with the local bars, expressing concerns that the current prosecution standards are too harsh. He claims that this ordinance would be a positive change, while incentivizing bars to better monitor their patrons.

Multiple Council members expressed concerns passed along by citizens about their lack of

understanding of the ordinance, as well as fears that this would lead to a severe crack down on alcohol- serving businesses. Bump stated that this was not the intention while stressing that officers will still be using their best discretion in these cases. The council has decided to delay the approval of the ordinance to a later meeting in order to address some public concerns. Bump has stated he will be of assistance as much as possible in the meantime.