One local nightclub and another that closed in December have been
charged more than $8,000 for excessive police calls.
The owners of Gitana Restaurant at 260 E. Magnolia Blvd. and
Sensation Village, formerly at 237 E. Olive Ave., recently received
bills for police expenses beyond the minimum three calls per month
each establishment is allowed under conditional-use permits from the
city, authorities said.
Gitana was billed $3,477 for a total of 15 calls between October
and December, police spokesman Sgt. Bruce Speirs said. During that
period, several large-scale fights took place at the club, including
one melee involving 20 people and another that required 18 officers
and a police helicopter to break up, police said.
Sensation Village was billed $4,760 for just nine incidents in
October and November, Speirs said. The club closed Dec. 21 after
state officials declined to renew its liquor license.
Among the incidents the club was billed for were two shootings the
night of Nov. 16 that Speirs said led to the deployment of 30
officers, a forensic specialist and the helicopter.
In calculating which calls the clubs would be billed for, Speirs
said police removed those calls not directly related to their
operation, such as a car burglary outside the business. The owners
were charged an hourly rate for each officer and piece of equipment
used on the calls.
Police are now calculating a bill for excessive police responses
to Gitana between January through April, a stretch during which the
club averaged more than 20 calls per month, according to police
Last month, more than 10 officers responded to a 50-person melee
outside the establishment, and one was injured when a man allegedly
“The calls for service had gotten to a point where we felt it was
appropriate to utilize the cost-recovery system in the
conditional-use permit,” Speirs said. “We were devoting a significant
portion of police effort to handling problems there.”
The owners of Gitana did not return repeated calls for comment,
and attempts to reach the former owners of Sensation Village were
Despite the number of fights and other incidents at Gitana,
Michael Forbes, the city’s associate planner, said the club’s
conditional-use permit would only be revised if police made such a
recommendation. Speirs said no such recommendation has been made, and
that by allowing police to recoup expenses the current permit is
working the way it was designed.
Police are working to reduce the number of incidents at Gitana by
increasing their visible presence in the area, Speirs said. Police
officials have also met with the club owner, and Speirs said he
believes Gitana staff will work to decrease he number of fights.
“I don’t think they understood the total nature of what was
happening and how it was impacting city services,” he said.
Club owners were asked only to make payment as soon as possible,