The city of Oskaloosa is introducing new methods to combat repeat nuisance offenses, according to a document sent out at a recent city council meeting.
The plan is part of a city ordinance that will allow citizens a chance to correct any issues arising from a public nuisance complaint. City officials, including law enforcement and the fire department, will be there to formally address the complaint.
“The first thing we do is we make contact with the resident and verbally talk to them to see if they can get the nuisance handled,” Oskaloosa firefighter Daniel Hoy said.
He added that if the warning is not properly attended, then they move to the next phase, which involves an official violation.
“We give an official legal document. At that point, we give them 3 days to come into compliance or get a hold of us at the fire station to make other arrangements,” Hoy said.
He also said the fire station is willing to work with those individuals if they need extra time. However, if they don’t receive any response, or make any improvements to correct the violation within a reasonable time, then officials begin to pursue legal proceedings.
The police department also handles public nuisances, depending on the nature of the problem. The only instance where a law enforcement official would have to get involved is when the nuisance causes imminent, clear and compelling danger to health, safety, or welfare of that individual and their property. If that is the case, the enforcement officer in question is authorized to remedy the nuisance without prior consent.
“We try as best we can to handle the situation. If the matter is non-criminal, we notify the appropriate official within the city,” Police Chief Jake McGee said.
City Editor Jonathan R. Pitman can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org