Sheriff no fan of controversial nightclubs

You’d never confuse Sheriff Doug Gillespie with a denizen of the Strip’s nightclub scene. He’s way too square for that.

But Gillespie has no shortage of opinions on the subject now that Prive, the successful and controversial nightclub inside Planet Hollywood, has been exposed for failing to police an array of embarrassing behavior. Now Prive is fighting to win a liquor license, without which it will undoubtedly go out of business. (Read Wednesday’s column on this subject in the Review-Journal.)

In an interview Tuesday, Gillespie said, “I think you would be amazed at the lines that are formed for the people to get into these places. They are very busy places. And now the industry has moved to the pool. And we’re having similar challenges in the pool areas.”

Those lines mean big money to the club and more business for the casino. At a time the casino resort industry is struggling, the hottest nightclubs are enormous cash machines.

Gillespie: “I think gaming and I think the properties understand that just because it’s being leased doesn’t remove you from some oversight responsibility as to what’s going on. People at times have questioned why it is we commit the level of resources that we do to the special privileged investigation aspect of what we do as an organization, and this is one of the reasons why.”

Gillespie also noted that some clubs hired Metro officers on overtime to show a police presence, but some managers became nervous and didn’t want those same on-duty officers to actually enter the club area, where it doesn’t take Lt. Columbo to spot the open drug use and lewd behavior.

The sheriff also acknowledged the reality of dealing with nightclubs in a tourist mecca visited by millions who want to get a little wild.

“It’s a balancing act, but a lot of what we do is a balancing act,” Gillespie said.

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