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Dew Drop Inn declared a public nuisance

LAWTON, Okla._A local bar that was the scene of Lawton's most recent homicide is now on the verge of being shut down.

The city has started the legal process of declaring the Dew Drop Inn a public nuisance after residents called council members complaining about the danger. They say too many incidents have happened and the murder was the last straw.

Looking back at police records dating to September 2012, which was when Kenneth Young was killed outside the bar, to now; there have been more than 110 police responses to the bar. That works out to an average of about six calls each month. Compared to similar-sized clubs on Lee Boulevard that average about 30 calls each, the Dew Drop Inn calls the Lawton Police Department far more often. One woman who has worked at the bar for the past eight years says those phone calls are just them doing their job.

“We talk to someone [the police] and they want us to call, but when we do call they hold it against us. So what do you do," asked Sandy Duke, bar employee.

City Council Member Keith Jackson says if the security was better at the bar, their staff might be able to handle the smaller incidents but says the number of police responses to the Dew Drop Inn is a cause for concern. Jackson says he's not looking to shut them down, but the problems need to be solved and solved immediately.

"It's a significant list and it's a problem and the murder topped it off now. So the city is going to do something," said Jackson. "Do I expect it to be 100 percent incident free? No, but you can see by the number of incidents on your list there that it is significant."

Duke and others at the Dew Drop Inn say the bar is not the problem, it's the neighborhood they're in, which has more than its share of crime.

"We hear sirens all the time back here, it's a bad neighborhood, so you're going to get some stuff. A lot of times it's not at the bar. They come to the parking lot and not even in the bar and they just blame it on the dew drop because it's the area," said Duke.

"My response to that is if the bar wasn't there those problems wouldn't be there, bottom line. So yes it is the bar, or the attraction to the bar or whatever. If the bar wasn't there the problems wouldn't either," stated Jackson.

Duke says before they got the notice and even before the homicide, the bar was taking other steps to help crack down on the problem, they have a new dress code, a metal detector wand, and more security.

The bar now has 20 days to present a plan to the city that shows how they will fix the problems. The nuisance complaint states that if the bar's owners fail to do so, it can lead to further court action, which ultimately could lead to the closure of the bar.

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