Editor: The proprietor of the Bamboo Beer Garden in Madeira Beach has been cited by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department for violation of the city’s noise ordinance. Whether the action was justified or not will be decided by the courts. This is not the issue of concern. .
What is of paramount importance is that from the moment a complaint was filed, the police failed in their responsibility to the community, the residents and those who choose to operate businesses in the city. That responsibility is to serve and protect. As citizens we have a right to expect police will act fairly and responsibly in the execution of their duties.
In this case, common sense would have dictated defusing the situation as soon as the complaint was received, if indeed their intention was to resolve a problem. The complainant could have been apprised of the fact the city had recently purchased a sophisticated piece of equipment that would have allowed them, as soon as they completed scheduled training in its use, to determine if the noise ordinance was indeed being violated. They could then have proceeded to politely advise the proprietor of this requesting that in the interim they do whatever possible to control the volume of the music emanating from their premises.
In addition, they could have offered as a public service to monitor the noise level as soon as they learned to operate the equipment so the proprietor could determine if they were in compliance or not, and if not, to take the necessary steps to remedy the situation. Instead, the police, confronted with an incendiary situation, chose to throw gasoline on the fire by issuing tickets, taking the arbitrary and capricious stance that, in their opinion, the noise level was too high. If this is the type of response we are willing to accept, then we should train a chimpanzee to enforce our ordinances. We could pay him a whole lot less.