Kent police enforce ordinances in Lake Carmel Park District

By TERRY CORCORAN
THE JOURNAL NEWS
(Original publication: August 11, 2004)

A crackdown by police this summer in the Lake Carmel Park District has resulted in officers issuing more than 50 summonses to people who allegedly violated town ordinances that govern the park.

Lt. Alex DiVernieri said the increased police activity began when officers noticed violations and continued after residents living around the lake began complaining to town officials.

"We've been getting numerous complaints from residents about youths in the area misbehaving, as well as criminal acts," DiVernieri said yesterday. "It's been an ongoing thing. We've been trying to take a zero-tolerance approach, and it seems to be the only method right now that young people understand."

Last Friday, police charged three 18-year-old women with unlawful possession of marijuana after an officer spotted them with the drug at the Lake Carmel Park District gazebo. On July 18, police arrested a 19-year-old Massachusetts man on a similar charge after he was seen parked in the lot at Beach No. 3 about 11 p.m. And on July 15, a 20-year-old town man was cited for possessing alcohol while under the age of 21 after he was parked in the same lot about 2:40 a.m. The head of the park district advisory committee said she wants to meet with police officials about park issues and to determine whether something can be done to keep young people occupied.

"It seems like every few years, we have problems when a lot of kids get together," said Wanda Schweitzer, chairwoman of the Lake Carmel Park District Advisory Committee. "I'd like to work along with the Police Department and work more with the younger kids. They need to have things to do. I'd like to open communications between the generations."

Schweitzer said she wasn't criticizing police but was rather looking for a way that the park district advisory board could work with them to solve the problem.

"We'd be interested in anything to keep the youth busy in a constructive way," DiVernieri said, "and we'd be interested in working with the community to come up with some sort of solution."

Since June, Kent police have been enforcing quality-of-life issues throughout town and in the park district. That includes the areas of East Lakeshore Drive, West Lakeshore Drive, the Lake Carmel beaches and parking lots. Police have issued at least 51 summonses for violations that include violating beach curfew, illegal parking and roaming dogs. That does not include arrests on criminal or motor-vehicle charges.

Schweitzer, reached Monday, said it was the first time she had heard of the 51 summonses. She said she had heard from some parents who were concerned that there wasn't much for their children to do in town.

Resident Jacqueline Stewart, who is among those who have written to town officials, said she is pleased with the police response.

"We really do appreciate it," said Stewart, a seven-year resident of Lake Carmel. "Sgt. (Jerry) Raneri has really worked with us. But unless residents get involved, the problem will likely continue."

Town ordinances that govern the Lake Carmel Park District require that vehicles parked in the lot have a valid park district sticker. Boats must be registered with the town and have one life preserver for each person on board. The beaches and adjoining parking areas are closed from 9:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily. Parking is forbidden on the lakeshore side of any road. Dogs, glass containers and alcoholic beverages are forbidden on the beach.



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