Policing Messy Neighbors

Plattsmouth Police will now ticket messy neighbors.

The Cassgram reports that a reorganization of city departments three months ago directed the police department to work with the zoning/building inspector’s office in code enforcement. So now, those locations with junk in yards, junk cars or other code violations are likely to be dealing directly with a police officer.

"We see it as a way to clean the town up and make it more presentable to those that live here, to visitors, and to those prospective businesses looking to locate here," said Plattsmouth Police Chief Brian Paulsen.

Protecting the public remains the officers’ number one duty. But when they see a code violation, they’ll make a note of it and return later if there is more pressing police business to tend to at that time, said the chief.

Asked about locations where there are visible code violations but police also have suspicions about criminal activity, Paulsen it will be a "fine line" for officers to walk. "Laws are very specific about the privacy of a home, so if they’re on a code violation and they think they have a criminal matter and they’re required by law to get a warrant, they’re going to have to back out of there and get that warrant."

Snow removal on sidewalks is something officers can also address, but Paulsen said the city gave some latitude following the ice storm earlier this month.

It’s not unusual for code violations to be handled by police in a community the size of Plattsmouth, said Paulsen.


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