The US Department of Justice, as Number 7 of its "Problem-Oriented Guides for Police" series, has released an invaluable 50-page guide to comprehensively attacking the boom car problem. This is a wonderful resource to forward to your local Police Chief and Municipal Council. It can be obtained on the Internet at Guide, or contact our Society to obtain a copy.
Enforcement is Key
Stricter enforcement of noise violations by Norman, Oklahoma police and the Oklahoma University Department of Public Safety under the new Noise Ordinance Enforcement Project will begin Tuesday September 3, 2002. Both departments will be taking a more proactive approach to violations by sending out officers specifically to issue citations for noise violations, according to a Norman police press release.
The project is a result of a study session held by the Norman City Council on noise pollution. During the session, several citizens expressed concerns over excessive noise and the level of enforcement. After the session, the City Council directed Norman police Chief Phil Cotton to strictly enforce the noise ordinance, the press release said.
According to the ordinance, any sound in a public place that can be heard at least 50 feet away or any sounds from a private residence that are plainly audible from the property line are violations of the ordinance. The only exception to the ordinance is to obtain a permit from the city manager's office.
Norman police Lt. Glenn Dobry said not only are loud stereos and exhaust pipes a violation of the ordinance, but OU football games, marching bands, "Boomer Sooner" horns, loud vehicle engines and pipes and other loud public and private events are as well. "We won't be writing citations [for the games]," Dobry said. "But technically, they are in violation. The ordinance doesn't make any exceptions."
OU President David L. Boren said that even if the city intended to enforce the ordinance, conduct changes would not be made at football games. He said the ordinance doesn't make much sense. "That is the silliest thing I have ever heard of," he said. "We are not going to ask our band to stop practicing, and we're not going to stop having football games."
OU Police Chief Joseph Lester said OUDPS would be assisting in the project only to an extent and would not be enforcing the violations on game days. "We will be enforcing [against] loud noises as it affects certain occurrences," Lester said. "The crowds will be able to cheer, the band will be able to play and the Roughnecks will be able to shoot off their guns. Everybody needs to know that this ordinance is there and needs to make the necessary adjustments to keep from being cited."
Dobry said that during quiet hours, 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., even lawn mowers, construction and electric tools are violations. The Norman police will use unmarked police cars, parked 50 feet away from roadways and hand held decibel meters to issue citations, and most people will receive a ticket for their first offense, Dobry said. "Apparently, we're going to be more proactive and write up tickets for the first [violation]," he said.
Dobry also said that noise units would probably stake out the [fraternity] houses to monitor possible noise violations, but the main goal of the project is for loud stereos and cars.
Right to Quiet Society Newsletter, Fall, 2002
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