It's been six weeks since my brother-in-law (Adam McCloud) was killed in a downtown bar in Stillwater. Our family is still struggling (as you would expect from a family that lost a brother, son, and uncle), but we have been comforted by the wonderful community that Stillwater and Bayport have proven to be. You have cried along with us and we are truly sorry for your pain as well.
Stillwater has proven to be so much more than a city and has redefined my definition of community. The outpouring of support has touched all of us. Businesses have held (and helped with) fundraisers, the police have been thoughtful and helped direct us through uncharted waters, and the County Attorney and his office have been a source of support and comfort as they prosecute Adam’s case. Our neighbors made our meals and continue to give us shoulders to cry on, and our clergy offer us wisdom and help us see through this to the larger context.
One of the better things to come out of this tragedy is a common sense tool that City Council is putting in the hands of the police to ensure that establishments that hold liquor licenses uphold their part of the bargain and police their restaurant and bar. The proposed change would leverage citations to give notice to the bar after 6 incidents, but could eventually end in suspension if the course isn't corrected. Some of the bars in downtown have not been living up to their obligation to the community to keep the peace - resulting in greater than 30 incidents. My belief (and hope) is that Adam’s death will be a wake-up call for those institutions who have been harboring ill-tempered patrons, but if they choose not to respond appropriately the police need tools to help make change happen.
What I love about this community is that it doesn't suffer the lack of empathy so indicative of large cities. I have three small children who have grown up here with a sense of safety and security. We know our neighbors and we all pitch in with each other's children. When my kids get out of line, my neighbors feel confident in setting them straight. This is not a community where any business can (or should be allowed to) flagrantly ignore their responsibility to maintain the safety of their customers.
Please join me in letting City Council know that you support this common sense measure.
-- Larry Odebrecht, Stillwater