They still couldn't write speeding tickets, but city building inspectors, fire officials and animal control officers would get the power to cite Lawrence residents for violations of the city code under a proposed city ordinance.
Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday will consider exempting the city from state law, giving non-police officers the power to write tickets for violations of the city's environmental code, parking-in-yard ordinance, zoning code and building code, among others.
The ordinance would not, however, give such non-police officers the power to arrest, search or detain people.
``There will be less bureaucratic hassle in issuing a citation when there is a serious city code violation,'' said David Corliss, assistant to the city manager. ``This is just an effort to streamline our enforcement efforts.''
Commissioners will consider the ordinance during their weekly meeting, beginning at 6:35 p.m. in the city commission meeting room at city hall, Sixth and Massachusetts. At least four of five commissioners would need to approve the ordinance for it to become law.
The ordinance wouldn't change what currently is legal or illegal, Corliss said.
Currently, state law requires that all notices-to-appear in court must be written either by a sworn police officer or municipal court clerk, even if it's for something as simple as a car parked in someone's yard.
Now, instead of calling a police officer, who would have to interrupt his patrol duties to drive by and write the citation, an inspector could cite that car for a violation, Corliss said.
Corliss also said police officers generally aren't as familiar with zoning and building codes as are inspectors and other city officials. The resulting delays discourage prompt enforcement of the city code.
Several other Kansas cities, including Wichita and Overland Park, have adopted similar ordinances, he said.
The Lawrence ordinance, if approved by the commission, would become law 60 days after being published twice in the Journal-World, provided a protest petition were not filed with the city clerk.