SOUTHINGTON — Top locations for police calls in town last fiscal year were a motel, a truck stop, a group home, a shopping plaza and a Center Street bar.
Property owners could face fines for emergency calls to those locations if the Town Council adopts an excessive police calls ordinance. A town committee last month voted in favor of the measure, which would charge up to $250 for each police call above 25 per year.
Police provided the top call totals for town properties in the previous fiscal year to town leaders considering the new law.
In compiling numbers, Deputy Police Chief William Palmieri said he excluded calls that would be exempt under the ordinance, such as crimes in progress, motor vehicle stops and medical calls.
Motel 6 on Queen Street was the top call location of the 2017-18 year with 55 police calls, including trouble with a person, assistance, arguments, loud noises and an indecent exposure. The company didn’t return a call for comment.
The Travel Center of Southington, a truck stop at 1875 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike, was the second most active address for police calls with 44 last year.
The group home for teen girls on Birchcrest Drive was third with 43 calls. In looking for ways to reduce calls to the group home, town leaders decided to craft a law that penalizes what they consider excessive calls throughout town. Supporters of the measure say it’s not targeting the group home and addresses any properties that are drawing emergency resources disproportionately.
The Bridge Family Center on Birchcrest is a state Department of Children and Families subcontractor and leases the house in Southington. Margaret Hann, director of The Bridge Family Center, said she doubted her landlord would pay the fines, saying he has an “army of lawyers.”
KWK Birchcrest LLC owns the property and state records list Robert Koff of Simsbury as a company member.
Police calls to the group home were down this fiscal year from the previous year.
The shopping plaza that contains Walmart and other stores at 235 Queen Street had 32 calls in the previous fiscal year. The restaurant and bar 75 Center, in the former Machiavelli’s location, had 29 calls.
John Migliore, owner of the restaurant and property, said he hadn’t heard about the proposed ordinance but said fines wouldn’t keep him from calling police when needed.
“It’s all about keeping people safe,” he said. “If it costs money to do that, I don’t care.”
Migliore said he cooperates with police on everything and hopes to be a good neighbor.
“It’s about cooperation and trying to be a good neighbor,” he said. “If there was a way for me to be a better neighbor, I’d be happy to.”
Palmieri said the numbers were compiled to show how may properties may be affected by the ordinance. Calls were not verified, he said, and if the ordinance were in place each call would be reviewed to make sure it didn’t fall under one of the law’s exemptions.
“The verification process is looking to see if the police response could have been controlled by the property owner or the person in charge of the property,” Palmieri said. It “is looking for any mitigating factor or information that would make the incident exempt.”
After 20 calls, Palmieri said police would meet with the property owner and attempt to keep the location from reaching the limit.