Failing to listen when a police officer asks you to leave an area can get you arrested in St. Charles under a new law recently approved by the city council.
City Council on July 24 passed a city ordinance that makes interfering with law enforcement officers a misdemeanor violation.
The new law (section 215:635) says:
It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly hinder, obstruct, willfully fail or refuse to comply with any lawful order or direction of,
or otherwise interfere with any law enforcement officer in the discharge of the officer's official duties,
or to attempt to rescue from such officer any person in the officer's custody,
or to aid in the escape of, or set at liberty, any person while in the officer's custody.
For purposes of this section, the words "law enforcement officer" shall include a police service technician.
Interim Police Chief Larry Stulce said the law will help police officers who work in the "entertainment" district on Main Street.
Stulce said if a person were to give a false name to police officers, that would be interfering with his or her duties.
It gives officers another way to handle unruly crowds when they are responding to a fight, he said.
"It'll help a lot with officers and performing of their duties and make prosecution easier," he said.
Main Street has several bars and restaurants on North Main Street which attract late-night crowds. Business owners and residents who live downtown as they disperse.
Several businesses have been broken into overnight, including Oh La La and the . There were 69 calls reporting a fight in progress between January 1 and July 10, 2012, according to a report prepared by Major Ed Mitchell.
There were 1,273 calls to police about issues on Main Street, according to the report.
The number of incidents involving late-night visitors to Main Street prompted Mayor Sally Faith to create a security taskforce to brainstorm possible solutions.