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Garden Grove police not trained yet to enforce cafe ordinance

July 7, 2011 |  6:13 pm

Garden Grove police are still being trained to issue citations for a law banning nudity, gambling and smoking inside Vietnamese cafes.

The department has not cited any cafe owner in the city, Lt. Jeff Nightengale said.

More than 70 patrol officers still need to be trained to handle the ordinance, which went into effect June 24. The department said it would give cafe owners a week to comply.

The new law, which was passed in May, significantly changes the atmosphere inside the coffeehouses, known for loud pulsating music, dark tinted windows and women dressed in in bikinis and lingerie -- and sometimes less -- serving rich Vietnamese coffee.

Concerned with the amount of illegal gambling in the cafes, more than 150 federal and local law enforcement officials raided the shops in March. Police seized 186 arcade machines they believed could be converted to gambling machines.

Recently, the department hand-delivered letters of intent in English and Vietnamese to various cafes.

So far, Nightengale said, the reaction from shop owners has been fairly positive.

"We haven’t had anybody say 'Oh we're not going to do it,' " he said.

Though the ordinance bans dark window tint and smoking inside the cafes, "the real emphasis is going to be the video arcade games and the attire of the waitresses," Nightengale said.

Officers will be trained within the next week, he said.

"In order for us to go out and enforce it, we have to teach the cops how to do it," he said.

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