by Dan McClelland
A key part of this Saturday's Community Fun Day in the Tupper Lake Municipal Park will be another opportunity for kids to “touch a truck.”
The event will again be presented by the Tupper Lake Police Department, in cooperation with the Tupper Lake Fire Department.
The two agencies have organized the “touch a truck” program several times at major community events in recent years.
Chief of Police Eric Proulx announced the event at August's village board meeting.
The purpose of the program is to give children here a chance to climb up and into the vehicles of the police department and the large trucks of the fire department to become somewhat familiar with them. That way they'll understand a a little of their important purpose andwon't be afraid when they see them rushing through the community to emergencies here.
During his report to the board in August, Trustee Ron LaScala asked the chief about the status of a noise ordinance in the village. It was a follow-up to an earlier meeting discussion.
Chief Proulx said that the village does have a local law that addresses excessive noise in the village. “Our local court system believes the law, as written, is too vague. We'll be working on this over the winter!”
He said his department routinely responds to noise complaints and explores them.
The chief said if a party doesn't stop making the noise, his officers have at their discretion the opportunity to “ticket them for disorderly conduct.”
Chief Proulx said that the difficulty of the present law is “we can't tell what is excessive.”
It is up to the local courts to define what is excessive, he said, and until such time as that happens the only way for his department to proceed is through “disorderly conduct” tickets.
“People can sign a statement and have people arrested, but it's a civilian complaint that we are acting on.”
“So if a neighbor has an issue with another neighbor, they can call the police and file a statement?” Trustee LaScala asked.
“It's always been like that...it's a judgement call by the (police department) supervisor,” continued the chief.
“A person signs a complaint, we send the paperwork to the court and it's up to the court to decide if the person will be prosecuted.”
“It must go to our court first before a person can be arrested?” asked Mayor Paul Maroun, looking for clarification of the process.
“Yes,” replied the chief. “That's how we've always enforced local laws!”
Chief Proulx said he preferred that the court system make any decision of what is excessive noise and what's not.
He said typically they visit the property where the noise is apparently coming from and tell the party to turn it down. “Then we wait down the street for a time to see if they turn down whatever is making the noise...it may turn outnot be a noise at all.”
Trustee LaScala said the vagueness of the current law is why he wants to see it addressed. “We must give our officers the tools they need” to address those complaints.
He speculated that sometimes a noise complaint may originate because one neighbor is upset with another.
“I'd like the board to address this issue!”
Mayor Maroun suggested calling a meeting of the county assistant district attorney and the local justices and come up with a way to create a law on noise “that is reasonable and fair.”
The chief said the issue is quite complex and typically complaints arise in the summer months when windows are open at night.
“It has to be addressed in a number of ways.” He gave as as example the noise that originates from local bars when a band is booked. “We don' want to come up with something that injures local business people who are just trying to make a living!”
“We'll set up a meeting and see what we can come up with,” the mayor said in closing.
by Dan McClelland