11/27/09 — Fremont to target loiterers beginning Tuesday

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Fremont to target loiterers beginning Tuesday

By Laura Collins
Published in News on November 27, 2009 1:46 PM

Starting Dec. 1, Fremont police will crack down on loitering in the town in an effort to keep drug dealers and users off town streets.

The bill was approved in July.

The bill makes it a criminal offense to loiter in the town for the purpose of violating the controlled substance laws. It includes any public or "quasi-public" place.

The law defines a public place as "any street, sidewalk, bridge, alley or alleyway, plaza, park, driveway, parking lot or transportation facility, or the doorways and entranceways to any building which fronts on any of those places or a motor vehicle in or on any of those places, or any property owned by the town." A quasi-public place is defined as "any ground abutting a public place."

Fremont police Chief R.K. Rawlings said he is "very excited about implementing the new law."

"The loitering law has been very effective in two other cities in North Carolina. Columbia and Brevard have had great success using this new law," he said.

Rawlings added that the Police Department intends on enforcing the law with respect to the citizens, but said some might still perceive it as a "means of police harassment" or intimidation aimed against specific groups or individuals.

However, the law is specifically geared toward those who are loitering for the purpose of selling or buying drugs.

"Fremont has a long-standing drug problem that calls for extraordinary measures from everyone in order to get drug trafficking under control," he said, adding that he has seen an increase in younger drug traffickers and prescription pills, which he calls the "new drug of choice" in Fremont.

"The new law will give police the teeth to clean the streets with the limited amount of personnel they have, and allow citizens free passage on streets, businesses, parking lots, alleyways, sidewalks, doorways, motor vehicles in those areas and property owned by the town of Fremont," he said.

Rawlings said the police officers will be trained on how the law should be applied and will be asked to "enforce it aggressively."