Skaters beware: Police getting tough with recreational equipment rules

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Brookhaven police officers will soon be placing more emphasis onenforcing recreation activity prohibitions and parking laws in thedowntown area.

Officers have been warning children violating the law by usingskateboards, bicycles, roller skates, roller blades and otherwheeled recreational equipment on city sidewalks. The warnings stopafter this weekend, said Police Chief Pap Henderson.

“I want parents to warn their kids about this,” he said. “We arewarning at this time, but eventually we’ll be taking theirskateboards or whatever from them.”

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The confiscations of equipment from violators will begin July 5,Henderson said.

“We’re not being hard, but we do have to enforce the law,” hesaid. “I’ve never had as many complaints from businesses as I’vehad this year.”

The complaints have been mainly about safety, the chiefsaid.

“Many of the businesses have plate glass doors. A child could beseverely injured or killed if a door opened in front of them andthey went through it,” Henderson said.

There was also concern about children accidentally “runningover” a customer leaving the store.

“I worry about some of these elderly leaving the store. Theycan’t quickly move out of the way,” the chief said.

Henderson said officers have been warning skaters for weeksabout the law in preparation for stricter enforcement.

The police department will also be taking a harder stand onparking violations.

Henderson said the city’s completion of a downtown paving andrestriping project has put a fresh focus on parking laws.

Officers in the past have given the benefit of the doubt to themotorist when deciding whether to issue a parking citation becauselines had faded to the point where they were virtually nonexistent,he said.

“It’s so clearly marked and beautiful downtown now that you caneasily see where to park,” Henderson said. “I want them to be awareof this because some of them have already felt it.”

Officers will also be placing more parking emphasis on motoristswho parallel park facing opposing traffic.

“Brookhaven has no one-way streets and we shouldn’t park like wedo,” Henderson said.