Home > Elected Officials, Flagstaff, New Media, Police State > Flag PD Releases Conflicting Information On Nuisance Party Citations

Flag PD Releases Conflicting Information On Nuisance Party Citations

By Elisha Dorfsmith

Over the weekend I filed a public records request with the City of Flagstaff asking for an update on the recently passed Nuisance Party Ordinance. How many people had been cited under the ordinance so far, who had the ordinance impacted (students, property owners, businesses) and how many people were present when the nuisance party ordinance was applied. I also asked for a copy of the City Manager’s report.

In response to my requests, I was provided with a copy of the most recent City Manager’s report as well as direct answers to my questions from Deputy Police Chief Walt Miller. Additional details were provided by the Police Records Supervisor.

City Manager’s Weekly Report

The City Manager’s report goes out to staff and Council each week and includes updates from each City department. In that report, the Flagstaff Police Department says:

“Police Department issued its first citation under the newly adopted party nuisance ordinance. The Citations were issued to two property owners in the Southside neighborhood in connection with an out of control party with over 300 people.”

Now, as you may remember, the Flagstaff City Council was very proud of this ordinance when they approved it in May with a 6-1 vote. In addition to cracking down on uncontrollable students, they said a big part of their goal was to go after property owners who allowed very large parties at student housing complexes like The Grove.

With that in mind, according to the police update in the City Manager’s weekly report, the City Council (sans Jeff Oravits who voted against the ordinance) can smile at each other and give themselves a huge pat on the back. The ordinance seems to be working as planned.

Deputy Police Chief Walt Miller’s Response

Unfortunately for the Flagstaff City Council, the status report on the party ordinance is not so cut and dry. In fact, if Deputy Police Chief Walt Miller’s response is accurate, the police update in the City Manager’s report is flat out false. In response to my public records request, Deputy Police Chief Walt Miller states:

“To date, 12 citations have been issued under the new ordinance.  No property owners have been cited.”

Additional Details From The Police Records Supervisor

The Police Records Supervisor provided the rest of the information I requested. The Flagstaff Police Department must be busy enforcing the ordinance because the number increased by the time their response came through. Here’s what they had to say:

“I found 14 citations having been issued since July 1, 2015. The citations issued have all been to the tenants of the residences. The number of people in attendance at each occurrence varies. Two of the reports just stated “multiple” people.  One said about 50.  One said 30-40.  Two said 20-30.  One said 20-25.  In some of the incidents, more than one citation was issued, in one case five citations were issued to residents.”

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about this information is the number of people at a disturbance listed in police reports to justify using the ordinance. While some reports say specific numbers like 20-30 people, two of the reports just state “multiple” people were present.

This creates a problem. The party ordinance makes it very clear that 5 or more people have to be present in order for this nuisance ordinance to apply. The word “multiple” simply means more than one. I have been contacted by NAU students who said 4 people were at a residence listening to music and police showed up and cited them for nuisance violations. The two police reports mentioning “multiple” people just might back up their story.

With the abundance of inconsistencies and vague numbers I still don’t have solid answers to my questions. I will continue to look into this and will keep everyone updated as more information becomes available.

On a side note, assuming 14 people have been cited and assuming these citations were issued for a first offense, the Flagstaff Police Department has brought in $3,500 from this ordinance so far.

better poice

The police update in last week’s City Manager’s Report saying only property owners had been cited so far (click to enlarge).

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