The City of Milford has adopted a new ordinance that will allow the Milford Police Department to fine residential and commercial property owners for repeated offenses of any unauthorized conduct that takes place on or originates from their property. The new “Disorderly Premises” ordinance was adopted by City Council on April 23 following a series of large altercations in downtown Milford where police officers were called to several business and residential premises to deal with large unruly crowds.
Under the new code unauthorized conduct is defined as “any conduct which causes public inconvenience, annoyance, alarm or danger…has the reasonable likelihood of causing public inconvenience, annoyance, alarm or danger or disrupts the quiet use, enjoyment and good order of adjoining and surrounding properties…”
Unauthorized conduct includes engaging in fighting or in violent, tumultuous, or threatening behavior, making unreasonable noise or an offensively coarse utterance, gesture or display or addressing abusive language to another person.
Chief Hudson of the Milford Police Department hopes that this ordinance will allow his officers to handle these reoccurring situations and prevent them from happening in the first place. Chief Hudson points to a series of altercations that happened earlier this year at a residential property in downtown Milford where an individual had advertised weekly parties at their home. Milford Police Department was called to the residence repeatedly and was forced to commit additional resources to contain altercations that stemmed from the house parties. With this new ordinance, Chief Hudson believes his offices will have the proper tools needed to prevent these types of situations from occurring on a regular basis.
“I think we have come to a resolution with this ordinance,” commented Chief Hudson. “We understand that some places may have a fight here or there but if it is the same place every weekend we need something we can fall back on to take care of these situations.”
Some downtown business owners are afraid that the new ordinance places too much responsibility on them for the actions of individuals that were at one time on their premises. Under the new ordinance any person who occupies or exercises any control over the premises where the violation occurs, or where the violation originated, can be held accountable and fined for the unauthorized conduct.
Veronica Hoffman, owner of Miss Q’s Bar & Billiards, points out that she is unable to predict what customers are going to do once they leave her establishment.
“I understand the community’s concerns but I do not understand how we can be held accountable for things that happen after hours,” commented Ms. Hoffman. “There are a lot of unanswered questions and I do not think we should be held responsible for the actions of others.”
Any Person convicted of a violation of this Chapter will be given a warning for the first offense and can face a fine up to $1,000 with additional offenses. After an offense the Milford Police Department will deliver a service of notice and expect the owner of the residence or business to develop a plan of action with the Police Department to prevent further violations of the ordinance.
“The biggest thing is communication,” commented Chief Hudson. “If you have a problem early, let us know and we will make contact with those individuals. Police presence alone may be enough to discourage any escalation of disorderly behavior.”