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Icon is located at 956 Main St. in downtown Stevens Point. (Metro Wire photo)

Report: Retired police officer ‘impressed’ with Icon’s efforts

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By Brandi Makuski

A retired police officer from Marathon Co. offered city leaders his professional insight into tavern activity in downtown Stevens Point.

Capt. Scott Sleeter (ret.) from Everest Metro Police Department, conducted an informal study of some downtown taverns as a favor for his friend and longtime colleague, the retired police captain stepfather of Icon co-owner Elliot Johnson.

Club owners Johnson and John Tromel reportedly asked Sleeter to assess the embattled nightclub in response to city concerns over the Icon Entertainment Venue’s citations for serving underage patrons at 956 Main St. in downtown Stevens Point.

The club has been cited by police three times since the beginning of 2024. Two of those citations remain open, according to City Attorney Andrew Beveridge.

Sleeter visited three very different taverns in preparation for the report, which follows at the end of this story. It’s not clear how Sleeter chose the three establishments. His findings follow:

Graffiti’s Sports Bar & Grille, 912 Main St.
*Serves food and large groups, open to underage food customers. Time observed: 8:45-10 p.m.

“Several people entered and were eventually served and I did not observe anyone check their identification. At one point I did see a male employee position a bar stool near the front door. I saw him check the identification of perhaps six people entering the bar. He was not there very long, left the area and more entered without being checked. I left shortly thereafter. Certainly possible this person returned to the position and continued identification checks. In general, the bar was moderately busy with at least four employees that I notified behind and around the bar. The column of customers, in my opinion, was not so demanding that an employee could not be at the door checking identification.”

Elbow Room Bar, 1321 Second St.
*Small neighborhood bar feel, mostly regulars. No food. Time observed: 10-11 p.m.

“Moderately busy. Observed no employee check any identification the entire time I was there. No one at the door checking as people entered.”

Icon Entertainment Venue, 956 Main St.
*Primary function is dance club with several bars inside, customer base is largely college-age. No food. Time observed: 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.

“Entered the Icon nightclub through the backdoor to minimize employee attention to myself. I was escorted by Mr. Johnson. Extremely busy. Line of people waiting to enter establishment stretched outside to sidewalk. I spent about two hours at Icon; about 75 percent of my time near the front door and the other 25 percent inside the bar proper, observing activities at the bar and out on the floor of the club.

Never less than three employees actively monitoring those gaining access to the establishment. Visually inspected an ID of every person entering the club. Utilized an electronic scanner on every ID to aid in identifying proper age and potential impropore identification. Scanner also memorializes identity of those entering and behavior history capabilities. The use of invisible hand stamping and wristbands to identify persons checked.

Employees patrolled the interior of the club monitoring activities and crowd attitude. Purpose explained to me to be an effort to locate problems as well as random ID checks if circumstances warrant.

I observed no behaviors from the patrons that approached inappropriate or problematic. Everything appeared consistent with a group of young adults having a good time. Too loud and crowded for my taste, but I am an old retired cop. Certainly nothing observed that would be associated with a public nuisance situation. The place struck me as a necessary venue allowing young adults to gather in a safe environment and very actively socialize.”

The report was presented to the Public Protection and General Government Committee on June 10. The Committee ultimately voted to renew the club’s liquor license.