This article describes the features and benefits of the Arlington Restaurant Initiative (ARI), which is a program coordinated by the Arlington County Police Department in Virginia for the purpose of increasing security in and around restaurants that serve alcohol and are part of the nightlife and entertainment in this suburban county of the Washington metropolitan area.
The ARI offers accreditation to participating restaurants and coordinates training that includes fake identification detection and deterrence; conflict de-escalation; what to do if a crime occurs; active shooter training; and hands-only CPR training provided by Virginia Hospital Center staff. Since the ARI began in 2016, the county's main restaurant and nightlife area has experienced a significant decrease in several types of violence, including assaults against police officers and malicious wounding. The ARI was created after the area had received negative media coverage. Initially, police efforts to create the program met reluctance among restaurant owners to become participants; however, when they saw the benefits of the program, they became more cooperative, offering suggestions for improvement. ARI is modeled after the Best Bar None, a United Kingdom initiative that is supported by that nation's Home Office. That program's policies, standards, and checklists became models for the ARI. Arlington County became the first jurisdiction in the United States to adopt a similar program.
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