Police: Problem-free month reported at The Back Bar

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012
— Janesville police reported a problem-free month at The Back Bar, and the Janesville Alcohol License Advisory Committee on Tuesday told the owner he doesn't need to report back until September.

Deputy Chief Dan Davis said co-owner Bob Kerman received a favorable review from committee members.

The committee in April recommended to the city council that the city shut down the live music at The Back Bar. That could have seriously hurt Kerman's business at 1901 Beloit Ave., which is known as a live-music venue.

The Back Bar had operated relatively problem-free for years. But officials became concerned after what they classified as two serious incidents: impaired patrons in the bar after hours, which resulted in unproven charges of sexual assault, and a gun observed inside the bar with at least one shot reported fired afterward on a nearby street.

Davis said Kerman at the time did not appear wiling to work with him, and at least one member of the alcohol committee reported a defiant conversation.

Kerman, though, said the recommendation to shut down his music came out of the blue with no other serious incidents occurring for at least five years. He noted that other bars have had more police calls and have been given more chances to remain open.

Police Chief Dave Moore acknowledged the bar's troubles came up quickly, but police usually deal with fights, not firearms.

The council voted to give Kerman a second chance only if he worked with police.

Davis said Kerman called him weekly and went over security plans and upcoming events. Police offered some suggestions, Davis said.

"They hosted their events, and they went very well," Davis said.

While a month is a "pretty small sample size, at the same time I give him credit for hosting these events and there not being any problems," Davis said. "That's all we were looking for."

Kerman was asked to return to the committee in September unless "significant issues" force him to return earlier.

Kerman said he outlined for the committee 18 policies he has implemented to improve security, including swiping every driver's license to create a database with photos.

"I don't expect any problems ever in The Back Bar," he said. "My parting comment to the ALAC was 'The Back Bar wants to set the example that other bars want to follow.'"

Kerman said he wants to stress to patrons that his club remains open and has never been closed. Some have told him they assumed the bar was closed, he said.

Last updated: 8:40 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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