Police chief hopes proposed nuisance ordinance will cut down on 'nonsense' calls

He said the number of calls for service had continued to rise and that some of those calls were just "nonsense." Often these calls are from the same individuals. It is hoped that the new ordinance would cut down on those kinds of calls.
The ordinance, called "An Ordinance to Abate Public Nuisance Activity," states, "The council finds that certain individuals within the city receive and require more than the general acceptable level of police services. Such individuals place an undue and inappropriate burden on the City of Berlin taxpayers, and constitute a public nuisance. The council therefore adopts this bylaw to authorize the chief of police to charge the individuals the costs associated with the nuisance activities that occur and to provide for forfeitures and/or fines for the individuals who create such nuisance activities or situations, including those that require an emergency response caused by an individual's reckless or intentional behavior, so that such activities will be abated in the city."
Nuisance activity is described in the ordinance as disorderly conduct, disorderly actions, animal violations, littering, protective custodies involving intoxication, false reports and unsworn falsification and recklessly or intentionally creates a situation requiring an emergency response.
Violators would receive a citation, or at the police's discretion, a written warning. If a citation is given, the person committing the nuisance would be responsible for all response, investigation and court expenses and/or a fine of $250 to $1,000 for a first offense. Subsequent offenses within a 12-month period would bring a fine of $500 to $1,000.
Chief Morency presented the commission with an activity report that showed total calls for service overall were up 11.63 percent compared to last year. Some categories, like arrests, assaults, and verbal arguments are up over 25 percent.
Morency reported some legislation is being written regarding ATV's that might affect the trail system in town and the age to use them on the trails. He did not have a copy as it was still being written.
The commission discussed the situation with the dispatch radio console. It is the main radio for all emergency services and is 12 years old. It is failing, actually failed once, and has been "band-aided." They are hoping it will stay together for another six months, when they will be able to take money from a capital reserve account and buy a new one, which will cost about $120,000.
Morency said he is considering a service provided by Car Fax. In addition to offering consumers information about a car's past, it is also working with insurance companies and police departments. It can give those involved in an accident a number to call where they could get a police accident report directly. It would free up the police department from having to do this. He said he is still researching the issue and hasn't made a decision yet.
In correspondence, Morency said he has received their annual contract with Androscoggin Valley Hospital. He also received a request for a contract with the humane society in Conway, which he will review.