Fargo Liquor Control Board takes 'soft approach' over concerns at The Windbreak nightclub
The Windbreak, at 3150 39th St. S., came under scrutiny in 2022 over an increased number of police-related incidents and reports of underage people sneaking in.
FARGO — The Fargo Liquor Control Board on Wednesday, May 24, voted unanimously in favor of taking a “soft approach” to work with The Windbreak after the nightclub was reported for safety concerns.
The Windbreak, at 3150 39th St. S., came under scrutiny in 2022 over an increased number of police-related incidents and reports of underage people sneaking in, according to Fargo City Auditor Steve Sprague.
“The liquor board decided we needed to do something, and then met with them (Windbreak) and came to a verbal agreement,” Sprague told The Forum.
The agreement includes stipulations that the The Windbreak begin using ID scanners to validate customers are not underage, institute de-escalation training for security staff and maintain video cameras with footage available to the Fargo Police Department without a subpoena, Sprague said.
ID scanning will begin at 7 p.m. and last until 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, the club's busiest days of the week, according to the agreement.
The board will recommend the new measures to the Fargo City Commission for approval at the commission's May 30 meeting.
“It was more public safety," Sprague said. "We didn’t have a prescribed penalty, so the board would have had to decide what that penalty would have been, but we used a soft approach and came up with a good compromise."
Board member Lydia Tackett questioned the legality of the process since the board lacked a prescribed penalty.
“As long as it’s agreed to, it is legal,” Sprague said.
Prior to an April 19 liquor board meeting, The Windbreak's manager, Fargo Police Chief David Zibolski, the city attorney and the liquor board met to discuss a corrective action plan going forward.
Officers have dealt with a number of problems at the nightclub, including people being over-served, and people sneaking in underage, Zibolski told the board in April. There were also concerns expressed about how bouncers de-escalate situations.
Despite the safety concerns, Zibolski noted that The Windbreak has “good staff and good operation.”
Fargo City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn, who presided over a Liquor Control Committee, said the addition of scanners "will be really good."
"We haven't had a lot of calls recently," Piepkorn added.
Liquor Control Board member Robert Nelson said that management at The Windbreak has shown willingness to work with the city and with police.
“Steve’s (Sprague) approach is a soft approach instead of taking out hammers and that’s the way to do it,” Nelson said.
"I would rather help guide a business rather than come down really hard on them,” Sprague added.