Employees of the city's bars and private clubs now have until the first of next year to comply with a new law requiring them to apply for an identification card from the police department.

And city police now have the authority to keep applicants with criminal records from working under an amendment approved by the Sandy City Council Tuesday night.The law, passed by the council earlier this year, had been slated to go into effect July 31. But because of the changes, the effective date was moved forward to Jan. 1, 1989.

Employees must still submit to mug shots, fingerprinting and a background check by the police department in order to get an identification card needed to work in a bar or private club.

But before the law was amended by the council, police were unable to turn down applicants - no matter what kind of criminal record was revealed by the background check.

Now police have the ability to deny an identification card to anyone who has a felony conviction for crimes involving alcohol, drugs, sex, violence or contributing to the delinquency of a minor within the past five years; or a misdemeanor conviction on similar offenses within the past three years.

That ability will help police protect bar and private club patrons from coming into contact with potential criminal activity as well as protect the city's liability, said police Capt. Bob Wright.

"It's never been our intent to hinder people from working in a profession of of any kind because of a mistake they've made in the past," Wright said. "We're trying to be reasonable."

The law is now similar to those regulating bar and private club employees in other cities along the Wasatch Front, including Murray and West Valley City as well as Salt Lake County.

Wright said the city could be liable if authorities had reason to believe an employee's background could lead to criminal activities and allowed that person to work anyway.

Police had originally asked that the law not include specific reasons for denying an application, saying that turning down an applicant should be a judgment call.

But the head of the Utah Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said that unless reasons an identification card could be denied were spelled out in the law, applicants could not be rejected.

The amended law also provides an appeals process for applicants who are denied an identification card. The cards remain in effect for two years, unless revoked or suspended.