- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) - In an effort to limit unnecessary calls to the Kokomo Police Department, local officials have decided to impose fines on property owners who frequently rely on officers to resolve small issues.

The Kokomo Common Council on Monday approved an amendment to the city’s existing ordinance to regulate the number of times police respond to nuisance calls before the property owners could face a fine.

Council members hope the measure will limit police runs to incidents, such as noise or cleanliness complaints, which that could easily be handled by security or a landlord.

“If your neighbor’s got the music playing, don’t call the cops. Call the apartment manager,” Common Council Vice President Mike Kennedy said during the council’s informational session. “That is what this ordinance is trying to get done, is so the apartments can take care of their own issues like that.”

The measure also focuses on big box stores, such as Wal-Mart and Target, which rely too heavily on police for incidents like verbal disputes and minor shoplifting, according to council members.

“I think what’s happening today is that you have the big box stores and other places that are getting rid of their security and relying on the police department to answer to frivolous things,” council member Bob Cameron said after the first reading on April 11.

The new threshold for ordinance citations or verified complaints received within a 30-day period are three for any commercial, residential or residential rental property and five for any apartment complex. Commercial properties also could face a fine if they require more than three police runs for thefts of less than $50 within a 30-day period.

Responding officers will use their discretion when deciding whether to issue a citation, councilman Steve Whikehart told the Kokomo Tribune (https://bit.ly/1rhVkrf ).

Council members noted that residents, business owners and apartment personnel should personally take action only during nuisance incidents. They said police should still be called during criminal situations or medical emergencies.

“If it’s a criminal activity, call the police. That’s no different than you do today, or you should be doing today,” Kennedy said. “But apparently we have to outline some of these things today because it’s not happening.”


Information from: Kokomo Tribune, https://www.ktonline.com

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