Wausau considers public intoxication ordinance
- Associated Press
- August 20, 2013 - 11:05 AM
WAUSAU, Wis. — Wausau may adopt a public intoxication ordinance as part of its effort to deal with a growing problem of extreme public drunkenness.
The City Council is expected to consider a proposal next month that would allow officials to levy $150 fines for heavy intoxication, with repeat offenses costing $300 plus court fees.
Public Health and Safety Committee Chairwoman Lisa Rasmussen told Daily Herald Media (http://wdhne.ws/19GE1G4 ) the ordinance would be the third step in addressing bad behavior tied to drunkenness. The city already allows police to ban disruptive people from city parks, and police are asking judges to bar people from returning to parks where they were arrested as a condition of bond.
Rasmussen said Marathon County has a serious problem with binge drinking. Wausau would become the first community in the county to adopt a public intoxication ordinance.
"We lead the pack in a lot of areas that we shouldn't be proud to be leading in," Rasmussen said. "And I think if there becomes a consequence for these behaviors, it would be a proactive step on our part to lead the way."
The ordinance would allow police to cite people who were visibly intoxicated or incapacitated or creating a public nuisance. Officials would determine intoxication by behavior, such as stumbling or slurring speech, and not blood alcohol content.
Rasmussen said that's because people respond differently to alcohol and someone might be a nuisance and not have a high blood alcohol level.
Wisconsin does not have a public intoxication law, but cities such as La Crosse and Menomonie do.
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