Police can now enforce park rules

FRONT ROYAL – The Police Department now has authority to properly patrol parks located within town limits.

The Town Council at its regular Monday meeting approved an agreement with Warren County allowing the Front Royal Police Department to enforce the park system’s code of conduct. The town will not incur any costs resulting from the agreement.

Chief Kahle Magalis explained during a work session last week that the agreement allows the department to enforce rules that are not laws.

“We’re the first responders for the parks, but we cannot enforce their code of conduct. If someone is down there and they’re breaking the rules but they’re not breaking the laws, our hands are kind of tied,” Magalis said.

He noted it has been a “bit of an issue” for several years. There has not been excessive bad behavior at the parks, but the agreement will make enforcement of rules simpler.

“For example, if we show up and a person is playing their radio loud and they refuse to turn it down….we’ll at that point have the teeth where we can actually trespass that person and remove them from the property without having to wait for a county person to show up,” Magalis said.

Mayor Hollis Tharpe said this has been a “gray area” since the county took over the parks.

Warren County Parks and Recreation officials can also enforce the code of conduct. Signs will be posted at all indoor and outdoor Warren County facilities in the park system. Items prohibited in the code of conduct include offensive language, alcohol consumption, portable sound systems without earphones, and obstruction of authorized programs.

The approved resolution of agreement states the police’s new ability “is in the interest of public safety.”

Magalis said the agreement has been in the works since last spring, and has been meticulously reviewed by the Town Attorney Doug Napier and County Attorney Dan Whitten.

The Town Council also:

•Appointed Thomas E. Dombrowski to the Urban Forestry Advisory Commission.

•Recommended Tamar B. Yager to the Warren County Circuit Court judge for appointment to the Front Royal Board of Zoning appeals.

•Approved a $249,475 bid from the Woodstock-based Bushong Contracting Corporation for a waterline upgrade project in the area of Dixie Avenue. The project will be funded using the waterline upgrade budget line item in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget.

•Approved a $148,894 purchase for a tandem dump bed and hoist with a central hydraulic system for the street maintenance department.

•Approved the $39,106 purchase of a GPS system for the vehicle equipment maintenance department.

•Approved the purchase of a piece of $35,758 front-end alignment equipment for the vehicle equipment maintenance department.