Ordinance establishing opening and closing times at Lafayette parks, introduced

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) A proposed ordinance that would make it a crime to be in a public park after dark is being introduced to the Lafayette City Council on Tuesday.

The ordinance is called “Unauthorized Entrance in or upon Parks and Playgrounds.”

The Interim Director of Parks and Recreation, Hollis Conway, says an open and closing time for all city parks will help with safety.

“If there is no opening or closing times, it prevents our police officers from making sure our parks are safe from any unwanted activity. The measure gives them the ability to stop someone who is in our parks after hours and investigate to make whatever decision they need to make.  Without that, if someone is in the park doing anything illegal at 3:00 am it’s not illegal for them to be in the park because the park is still open.”

The proposed ordinance outlines that being on the grounds of any Lafayette City Park or playground between the hours of 10 pm and 5am would be considered violating the law.

Conway says the only exception to the rule will be written or verbal approval from authorized officials.

“We understand that there are events that may be special events later or something that happens earlier; it would not preclude or prevent them from having those events,” Conway added.

Conway explains penalties will be based on the situation and responding officer.

“We’re in the process of installing LED lighting in places where it’s dark.  We’re in the process of acquiring cameras to have cameras in our parks and eventually we would like to have Blue Phones in our parks where people can pick up a phone and call for safety,” Conway noted.

According to the proposal, the ordinance is scheduled for final vote and adoption on May 18.

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