Quality of Life Issues
The State of New Jersey empowers local municipalities to enact laws intended to preserve the quality of life. These laws are called “ordinances” and are passed by the Borough Mayor and Council based upon the needs of the community.
In Glen Rock the following conduct is prohibited:
- Public Consumption or Possession of open alcoholic beverages: Persons, regardless of their age, may not consume or possess open alcoholic beverages on any public street, walkway, alley, parking area, public park, playground or public-owned property. This also includes any location with access open to the public, even if privately owned. *Limited exceptions to this ordinance are made for organized events where a special permit is obtained from the Borough Clerk in advance. The locations for which these permits are issued are limited.
- Urination or Defecation in Public or Open Places: It is unlawful to urinate or defecate in any place, public or private, visible from any public place.
- Prohibited Disorderly Acts and Conduct: No person shall commit any of the acts enumerated below, each of which shall be deemed and considered disorderly conduct or a breach of the peace:
- Make or assist in making any improper noise, riot, disturbance or breach of the peach in the streets or elsewhere within the Borough.
- Create or cause it to be created a danger of the breach of peace.
- By his/her actions cause a crowd to collect, except when lawfully addressing such a crowd.
- Interfere with any person in any place by jostling against such person or unnecessarily crowding him or by placing a hand in the proximity of such person’s pocket, pocketbook or handbag.
- Station him/herself in any place or follow or accost any person for the purpose of obtaining money or other property from said person by any trick, artifice, swindle, confidence game or in any other illegal manner.
- Stand on sidewalks or street corners and make insulting remarks to or about passing pedestrians or annoy such pedestrians.
- Accost or approach another unknown to him/her, on a public street or other public place in the Borough, and then knowingly and by word, sign or gesture attempt to speak to or become acquainted with such person against his will, except in the transaction of legitimate business.
- Set off or discharge any revolver, pistol, gun, cannon or firearm of any description using cartridges or gunpowder for ammunition; provided, however, that nothing contained herein shall be construed to extend to any military maneuvers, to the explosion of dynamite or similar material used for blasting purposes under proper supervision and to any police officer in the line of duty.
- Discharge any paint ball gun, air soft gun or bow and arrow, except upon private property with the permission of the owner in a manner where projectiles will not land beyond the limits of said property.
- Excessive Noise: Both New Jersey State Law and Glen Rock Borough Ordinances have sections pertaining to excessive noise and disorderly conduct. These laws vary greatly depending upon the time of day or nature of the conduct. However, when a complaint of excessive noise is received a Police Officer is dispatched to investigate. Complaints that are substantiated will be acted upon. If persons, including those on private property, persist in disturbing others enforcement action will be taken where appropriate.
Violations of these ordinances are not considered a criminal offense, however they have the force of law and such violations can result in fines being imposes by the Municipal Court. In the case of persons under the age of 18, a violation of these ordinances would be considered an act of Juvenile Delinquency.
PROPERTY AND/OR ZONING DISPUTES
These types of matters include, but are not limited to, property maintenance, placement of sheds and fences, building permits, swimming pools and construction related issues. The Borough of Glen Rock maintains a Code Enforcement Zoning and Engineering department which can assist you with many of these issues. They can be contacted at (201) 670-3995. The Police Department does not normally become involved in these types of civil matters.
UNDERAGE DRINKING AND THE LAW
The drinking age in the United States is 21. Under New Jersey State Law a person less than 21 years of age may not purchase, possess or consume alcoholic beverages in any public place. A person under 18 who violates this law will be charged as a juvenile delinquent. A person 18 to 20 who violates this law will be charged as an adult with a disorderly persons offense. The fine for an adult violating this law is not less than $500.00. If the offense is committed in a motor vehicle a 6-month driver’s license suspension will also be imposed.
Glen Rock Borough Ordinance 154-6 extends this prohibition to private property, including the offender’s own home. A person violating this ordinance is subject to a fine of $100 to $250 for the first offense and a fine of $350 for any subsequent offense. In addition, the court may suspend or postpone for 6 months the offenders driving privileges.
As a responsible citizen you should be aware of the laws that apply to adults who provide or serve alcohol to minors:
LAWS AND PENALTIES
- New Jersey Statute 2C:33-17 makes it a disorderly persons offense to offer, serve or make alcohol available to minors. It is also a criminal offense to entice or encourage a minor to drink alcohol. The law states that a minor may only consume an alcoholic beverage in the presence of and with the permission of the child’s parent or legal guardian, or during a religious observance. The penalty for this is a fine up to $1000 and up to 180 days in jail.
- Even though there is an exception for parents, you should be aware that serving or providing intoxicating substances to a minor may also be prosecuted under other criminal statutes, for example, child endangerment (such as cases where the underage drinker harms himself or another), which can result in a State prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine up to $150,000.
- It is a disorderly persons offense for any person to make property (such as their house, apartment, business, motel room or any other place owned, leased or managed) available to, or in the care of, another person with the purpose that alcoholic beverages will be consumed there by minors. The penalty is a fine up to $1000 and up to 180 days in jail.
- It is a disorderly persons offense to sell an alcoholic beverage to a minor, or to purchase an alcoholic beverage for an underage person. The penalty is a fine up to $1000 and up to 180 days in jail.
- Any person who serves alcohol resulting in intoxication is also civilly liable for injuries caused by the intoxicated person’s negligence.
Let’s all pledge ourselves to work together and help to curb underage drinking in our community.
CITIZEN’S COMPLAINT PROCEDURES
“Officer I want that person arrested!” How many times have your heard that line in the movies? However, in real life it is not that easy. In most cases a Police Officer may have to witness a particular offense in order to make an arrest or even issue a summons for a traffic violation.
But this does not mean that you are without recourse. The State of New Jersey gives private citizens the right to sign a complaint charging a violation of the law through the Municipal Court in the jurisdiction where the offense is alleged to have occurred.
In order to sign a complaint charging any individual with a criminal or disorderly persons offense you must first file a Police Report. After your have done so, you may obtain from the lobby of the police station, or the Court Administrator, a citizen’s complaint package that contains the appropriate affidavit. Complete these forms and return them to the Municipal Court Administrator during normal business hours in person. The Municipal Court Administrator requires that you make an appointment in advance.
Upon review of these forms, the court will prepare a formal complaint for you to sign under oath. Complaints are only issued if the court determines that probable cause exists. In some cases you may have to appear before the Judge, in court, and give formal testimony to establish probable cause to the satisfaction of the Judge.
In the case of a Borough Ordinance, Motor Vehicle or Parking Complaint, you do not have to complete an affidavit. However, you still must appear before the Municipal Court Administrator, during business hours, to sign a complaint under oath.
Filing a police report does not constitute a formal complaint with the court. In most cases a Police Officer may have to witness a particular offense in order to make an arrest. Should the officer not witness the offense, the person making the allegation must sign the complaint.
All defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. As the complainant, you must be prepared to prove your case in court.
Procedures may vary slightly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. If you wish to sign a complaint for an offense that occurred in another town, contact the court in that town an ask what their procedures are.
HARASSING PHONE CALLS PROCEDURES
New Jersey law provides that a person commits a petty disorderly persons offense if, with purpose to harass another he/she makes or causes to be made a communication or communications anonymously or at extremely inconvenient hours, or in offensively coarse language or manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm. Conviction subjects a person to a maximum fine of $500 and/or imprisonment of up to 30 days.
If you are receiving calls of this nature, police assistance can be requested. However, in order for the Glen Rock Police Department to become involved, you must be willing to sign a criminal complaint charging an individual with harassment and testify in court if necessary.
Complaints cannot be filed based on caller ID information or the *69 option.
If you wish to pursue a harassing phone call complaint the following procedures must be followed within a 30-day period:
- After receiving a harassing call you must depress and release the phone receiver button. When a dial tone is heard, press *57 (or from a rotary phone, dial 1-1-5-7). This must be done each time you want to trace a call.
- You should wait to hear a confirmation announcement stating whether or not the call trace was successful. The information traced will be maintained by the Phone Company for 90 days, but will not be released to you.
- In order to substantiate a complaint of harassment it is most often necessary for three or more calls to be traced within a 30-day period.
- After following the above procedures you need to file a report with this department detailing the dates and times of the traced calls. Ask the officer taking the report to provide you with the event number assigned to your report.
- Then you must then call Verizon at (800) 518-5507, provide them with the event number and authorize the Phone Company to mail the trace records the Glen Rock Police Department Detective Bureau. Once the Detective Bureau receives this information, a Detective will call you to discuss pursuing the matter further.
- If you subscribe to a phone service other than Verizon you must contact your carrier for information on how to obtain any call trace data which may have been recorded. For wireless phone subscribers this information is often made to you available through online options. Please contact your service provider for further information.
NOTE: Fax/Modem or unwanted telemarketing calls are not a police matter and we cannot become involved. Please contact the Phone Company (Verizon) at (800) 518-5507 for information on dealing with these issues.