WILKES-BARRE — Off-duty police and probation officers providing security at Club Evolution and the Executive Lounge inside the Woodlands Inn and Resort are trained to watch for certain hand signals, the resort’s director of security said Tuesday.
The hand signals are a sign that gang members might be present in the dance club and lower level lounge, Katheryn Kaminski said. Patrons showing hand signals will be asked to stop or they will be removed from the facility, Kaminski said.
Kaminski spoke during the second day of testimony before Luzerne County Judge Richard Hughes in the resort’s appeal of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s decision not to renew its liquor license.
The resort on Route 315 in Plains Township employs 15 security personnel made up of police, probation and correctional officers, Kaminski said. About 12 are strategically positioned in and around Club Evolution and the Executive Lounge on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, with three or four more on call, she said.
Security officials undergo training such as gang awareness and the use of pepper spray, Kaminski said.
Attorney Richard Bishop, representing the Woodlands, asked Kaminski how has the gang problem evolved over the years.
Kaminski, who has been with the resort in various positions since 1979, quickly replied, “2,000-percent” since the mid-1980s.
“They bring bad business, gangs,” Kaminski said. ‘We don’t want them.”
Kaminski said the latest instruction on gang awareness two weeks ago advised security personnel not to look at certain patrons’ ethnicity. Because the resort has a strict dress code, she said, gang members adapted to “blend in” with other patrons.
Kaminski sometimes will stand in the middle of the dance floor inside Club Evolution on Thursday nights when the resort hosts under-21 parties, she said. Hotel desk clerks, maintenance staff and those employed in the banquet rooms act as “chaperons” Thursday night to add a security “presence.”
“Anyone could be asked to leave at any time; we’re very strict,” Kaminski said, noting the resort has a blacklist of people who are not permitted inside the dance club and lower-level lounge.
The liquor control board in May denied a renewal of the resort’s liquor license based on 10 violations of the liquor code dating back to 1987 and about 47 alleged incidents and disturbances reported to Plains Township police.
The Woodlands purchased $247,016 worth of liquor and wine from May 2012 to April from state liquor stores, according to LCB statistics.
Testimony is expected to conclude today.