(Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — Casper Police Chief Keith McPheeters told the Casper City Council on Tuesday, February 8 that some of the establishments holding liquor licenses in Casper appeared to make big improvements in 2021 in terms of helping ensure community safety.

McPheeters specifically highlighted the Gaslight Social, an establishment that he said has “historically been an area of concern,” as the establishment saw a 74% reduction in the number of calls for police service in 2021 compared with 2020.

“That’s a great win for our public safety goals,” McPheeters said.

The police chief also specifically applauded 2nd Street Liquor & Wine, which “had an outstanding reduction of 84% in the number of calls for service.”

McPheeters’s comments came as the city council began its annual review of liquor licenses on Tuesday. He said that some of the liquor establishments in Casper “seem to be doing a much better job of partnering with the first responders to make our community a little bit safer.”

Gaslight Social saw a total of 16 calls for police service in 2021, 47 fewer calls than in 2020. 2nd Street Liquor & Wine saw nine total calls for police service, 57 fewer than in 2020.

Another establishment that saw a big drop in the number of calls for police service in 2021 was the Liquor Shed, according to data included in a memo from the police chief included in the city council’s work packet. That establishment had 31 calls for police service in 2021, down 22 calls compared with 2020.

With the city council preparing to formally consider whether to renew liquor licenses, McPheeters said that there were “no glaring aberrations” in terms of a particular establishment being cause for concern. He said that he does not see a need for the council to request any specific establishment come before the council before its formal review.

There were 15 establishments that failed compliance checks when the police department conducted sting operations in 2021. McPheeters said that this was a slight increase from 2020, “but not so much to cause us concern.” The 15 businesses that allegedly failed compliance checks by gifting or selling alcohol to a minor were are follows:

McPheeters said that there has been an increase in alcohol-related crashes and that the severity of those crashes is leading to more injuries and more property damage in Casper, including two DUI crashes in the last week that led to injuries.

On the other hand, minor in possession of alcohol infractions were down in 2021 by over 28% compared with 2020, which McPheeters said is “absolutely good news for our community.”

Casper saw 294 DUI infractions in 2021, an increase of 8.9% compared with 2020, according to the memo from McPheeters. There were also 72 DUI accidents in 2021, an increase of 12.5% from the prior year.

Casper saw a 28.3% decrease in the number of minor in possession of alcohol infractions. There were 66 MIP infractions in 2021, down from 92 in 2020.

Public intoxication infractions were also down in 2021. The 291 public intoxication infractions were down 16.4% from 348 in 2020. The memo from McPheeters includes the following list of alcohol-related incidents in Casper in 2021 compared with 2020:

“Due to ongoing impacts of COVID-19, statistical analysis of data changes for 2020 and 2021 may
not produce relevant data,” McPheeters notes in the memo.

The memo also includes a breakdown of the calls for police service at each establishment holding a liquor license in Casper in 2021.