Lakewood city council votes to ban illegal drugs and camping in public spaces – Yahoo News
The Lakewood City Council voted Monday night to make using illegal drugs in public a gross misdemeanor and “camping” in public spaces illegal.
The two ordinances give police more authority to respond to criminal acts in public spaces, according to a media release from the city of Lakewood.
“The goal is not to criminalize people, but instead to encourage them into treatment,” said Lakewood Mayor Jason Whalen about the illegal drugs ordinance.
According to the City of Lakewood, recent changes to the state law require people to be sent to drug treatment twice before they can be cited or arrested for possessing controlled substances. But since there is no tracking in place, police are unaware if previous diversions have occurred.
With this new ordinance, Lakewood police can now charge suspects with a gross misdemeanor, which could lead to up to 364 days in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.
According to the media release, the city council hopes the increased punishment would be enough to change people’s behaviors.
The second ordinance makes it illegal for people to camp or store personal property on public property overnight in the city of Lakewood.
If no shelter beds are available at the time of contact, no enforcement will be taken against them, according to the media release.
Both ordinances take effect in 30 days.
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