SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD)- Summerville’s Town Council on Thursday approved the first reading of an adjustment the town’s noise ordinance.
The ordinance was put on the agenda after Monday’s Public Safety Committee Meeting when Summerville Police (SPD) Chief Doug Wright suggested that town council alter the ordinance so his officers do not have to use decibel meters to enforce the law.
“This has tied the hands of my police officers because if they don’t have this decibel reader this is prima facie evidence for the noise violation. If I have this I have to walk up and generally warn them for the first offense,” said Chief Wright.
Wright argues that SPD cannot enforce the law well enough with four decibel meters spread out among over 100 officers. The meters cost a few hundred dollars and buying more would not be good for the town’s wallet.
“I just think $300 dollars times 130 is not fiscally responsible. I think this could be used in some cases when it’s questionable,” said Wright.
The ordinance includes Chief Wright’s suggestion and adds in car stereo base vibration as prohibited noise if an officer deems it too loud.
Custom Car Stereo’s Steve Kramer says that law enforcement should always use decibel meters to enforce noise ordinances.
“We always have felt like an objective standard of measurement is the only way to prevent overreach,” said Kramer. “That’s not only not clear, accurate and standardized judgement. It allows somebody whose screw on the license plate is a little bit loose to have a lot more vibration and somehow they would get a ticket for that.”