Iowa City bar owners increase security measures to prevent shootings

Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 6:13 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - H-Bar in Iowa City opened seven months ago with a comprehensive security system, including cameras and doormen. After the Taboo Nightclub shooting in Cedar Rapids and given many similar recent events nation-wide, owners have upped security measures even more.

When customers walk into the building, the barely cross the threshold before security ensures that they don’t have a weapon on them.

Co-Owner James Miller works with his fellow owners, Katrell and David Sykes, to make customers feel as safe as possible.

They coined the term “uncomfortably safe”, taking any measures possible to keep people safe.

Metal detectors, a strict ‘no-weapons’ policy, and at least on security guard at the entrance and the exit.

“They stand back, and they puff their chests out. ‘SECURITY’ [is written] across their chests. And if somebody comes, they open the door, close the door behind them. No one touches the door, it’s a security thing,” said Miller.

After the Taboo Nightclub shooting in April, they went a step further by building a personal and professional relationship with the Iowa City Police Department.

“We were approached by a local bar owner here who had some similar concerns. We met with them, went through their facility and gave them advice on things they could do to increase security, and we have had a bigger presence in and around that bar,” said Chief Dustin Liston.

Miller’s concern now is that the increased calls to police reflect poorly in the eyes of current and new clientele. When, he says he and his fellow owners are the ones making the calls in order to protect everyone.

“When the police pull up to Mighty Shop, and they catch someone in the car and they’ve got guns or they have been drinking, that’s not by accident. We called,” said Miller.

While these measures may seem extreme to some, he says it’s the least that can be done in order to keep some of the worst type of violence away from the bar.

He adds that he and his co-owners believe if Taboo had similar safety measures to the one H Bar has now, it could have been prevented.

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