The Arlington County Police Department’s Restaurant Initiative, the first of its kind in the country, is in full swing.
Master police officer, Dimitrios Mastoras, the restaurant liason officer for ACPD, says it makes police officers’ jobs easier. “Moving away from the enforcement piece to more of awareness and guidance and training helps,” said Mastoras. “We do a lot of work on the front end so that we don’t have to do as much work on the back end.”
The department reports by the end of the week it will have enrolled about 20 of Arlington’s biggest restaurants. The voluntary accreditation program is aimed at improving restaurant safety when serving alcohol in the county.
The program includes fake ID detection and sexual assault and harassment training. After submitting their restaurant policies for review, restaurant managers and owners conduct a walkthrough with Arlington County officers. ARI is a collaborative effort from all of the county’s agencies, such as the fire marshal’s office.
Chris Lefbom, owner of Rhodeside Grill in Clarendon, has accredited two of his restaurants and is working on the third. “From my knowledge, all the big restaurants in Arlington are doing it and it’s a little bit of work to get it done but why wouldn’t you want to be up to date on all the rules and regulations with the Arlington County Police Department?”