Updated: 10/13/2013 9:11 AM
Created: 10/12/2013 6:32 PM WHEC.com
It's another tool for police.
Rochester City Council member Adam McFadden is proposing a law that would create drug free zones in the city of Rochester. It would mean that police officers would have the authority to arrest anyone who is loitering in front of a home, a businesses or on a street corners...no questions asked.
Could your neighborhood become a drug free zone?
If this becomes an ordinance, it's going to be up to the Rochester Police Chief to designate these areas. So what will he be looking at? The decision will be based on the history of the area.
Chief Sheppard will have to look at the number of arrests for possession or distribution of drugs within the last 6 months. He will look into the number of homicides there that may have been linked to drugs. If he has an objective amount of evidence or information that shows illegal drugs are being sold, it will be defined as a drug free zone. The chief will also have to decide whether or not the health or safety of residents in that area are in jeopardy.
So how will you know if an area is a drug-free zone? Police will mark the area off by using barriers or tape, and they will post information-notifying residents of the boundaries.
McFadden says the city has received several calls and complaints about loitering for many years, and he says a lot of these people are usually linked to homicides, robberies and drug sales.
Many of our viewers have sounded off about this idea on Facebook. Some agree with McFadden, but many are worried that this would give police license to abuse their authority. We asked McFadden what he thought about that fear, this is what he said.
"I don't think it gives them too much power. We put a lot in their hands as it is. With anything, you want to make sure you have checks and balances and we'll do our due diligence to make sure that this authority will not be abused. Ultimately that's really up to the Chief to man his police and make sure they are not abusing their authority."
If you are found in violation of the city code, you may be fined up to 300 dollars and second offenders may serve up to 30 days in jail. If it's adopted, the ordinance will go into effect two weeks later.
To contact Rochester City Council, click here.