Relaxed trespassing ordinance up for a vote in F’ville
The agenda at Thursday night’s meeting of the Fayetteville City Council will be short, but one of the items includes the second reading and possible adoption of a proposed ordinance relaxing the charge of trespassing on private property.
Police Chief Steve Heaton in a letter prepared for the Jan. 6 council meeting said the intent is to assist officers in addressing trespassing on private property and to provide for city charges to be processed in city court rather than the customary state charges that require the offender to be processed in state court. The first offense for trespassing, whether under state law or city ordinance, is a warning, Heaton added.
Heaton said many of the criminal trespass incident reported to police involve juveniles. If approved, the ordinance would allow officers to address trespassing issues with a less formal procedure that will not show up on a person’s criminal history and will reduce the amount of overtime paid to officers.
“There is a state law that addresses criminal trespass; however, when arresting someone for criminal trespass the officer has to apply for a warrant through the Magistrate’s Office. In many cases, the officer must make that application when he/she is off duty. The department pays overtime in those circumstances. The arrest also is placed on the person’s criminal record,” said Heaton.
The proposed ordinance states that, “It shall be unlawful for any person to enter upon the land or premises of another person or into any part of any vehicle, railroad car, aircraft, or watercraft of another person after receiving, prior to such entry, written notice from the city police department that such entry is forbidden.”
Also at the meeting, the council will hear a request from Fire Chief Alan Jones asking that the city consider leasing the department’s 1954 fire apparatus to the Fayette Shrine Club for use in public relations events.
The lease agreement would replace the temporary agreement approved last month. Jones said the city would benefit since the lease agreement calls for the Shriners to be responsible for the unit’s maintenance and housing.