South Jacksonville is looking to mirror its neighboring municipality to the north a little bit more.
South Jacksonville Police Chief Eric Hansell has been working for the last several months to create a list of city ordinance violations that can be issued as tickets by village police. Hansell says the list will be similar to tickets issued as city ordinance violations in the City of Jacksonville with minor adjustments to verbiage and parameters to fit the village’s needs. He says a lot of the offenses are simply things people need to do to be a good neighbor and keep the peace: “Clearly, South Jacksonville is a subset of Jacksonville, and our residents are living in close proximity of each other divided by Michigan Avenue [to the north]. If we are going to have laws in the village, they might as well be as closely aligned with Jacksonville as possible. These laws that we’re enacting in the ordinance are ordinances that South Jacksonville didn’t have that are going to help the police department facilitate neighborhood disputes [getting resolved]…loud music, opening burning, and things like that to make the quality of life in the village better for the residents.”
Hansell says it’s not about writing tickets to make money for the village. He says they are an enforcement measure to mediate disputes and to enforcement ordinances voted on by the village board of trustees: “Ordinances aren’t enacted by the police department. We merely enforce the ordinances. The ordinances are enacted by the board, approved and decided upon by the board. We enforce them, and then, they are adjudicated either ‘not guilty’ or ‘guilty’ in court. It’s not like I’m saying, ‘Hey, I want this law so I can go out and write a bunch of tickets.’ It’s just I want this law in place to be able to mediate disputes and make the quality of life here better.”
Hansell says he is exploring a municipal court system, but does not believe it will be cost effective for the board to have at this time. He says he will keep the idea on hold until he sees how many city ordinance violations that his department writes once the final ordinance book is passed by the village board.