New law enforcement squad on patrol

A new law enforcement squad made its first appearance in Columbia TMs entertainment districts Thursday night.

We have been here for 33 years and been through quite a few administrations, but this one seems to be taking a proactive stance on the nightlife, states co-owner Duncan Macray of Yesterday TMs Restaurant and Tavern.

Macray says he's looking forward to seeing more of the Hospitality Team, which will patrol Five Points, the Vista, Main Street and Harbison areas.

The main focus of the team is to improve public safety. We are looking for compliance to the laws and regulations, said Deputy Chief Ruben Santiago of the Columbia Police Department.

According to Santiago, the hospitality team made a successful debut. He adds the team is not only looking to prevent criminal activity, they're also concerned about protecting the overall well-being of patrons and businesses owners.

The public safety group will be keeping an eye out on everything from underage drinking to fire code violations.

The hospitality team consists of six members: three police officers, a fire marshal, code enforcement and business licensing operators.

Right now, the group is working on educating the merchants on community safety and has yet to issue any tickets. However, an arrest was made in the early Friday morning.

There was a shooting incident at the club at 1800 Blanding Street and our hospitality team officers were the ones who apprehended the suspect," Santiago says.

Authorities have not released any more details on the case as its still being investigated.

The hospitality team will work Thursday through Saturday, moving from one location to another as needed.

Goals and members may change eventually as the team learns how it will best be utilized.

We want to know what you think. Is the hospitality team something the Capital City needs or is it too much law enforcement? Leave us your comments.