Police greet newcomers with guide to local laws by David Lias Officers of the Vermillion Police Department have been going out of their way in recent weeks to make contact with residents, particularly newcomers to the city.
They aren't writing up tickets, however. They are distributing pamphlets that welcome new citizens to Vermillion, especially students at The University of South Dakota.
The pamphlets include explanations of the city's ordinances dealing with parking, traffic, noise and alcohol.
It's hoped that the information campaign will reduce the number of complaints and violations of these ordinances.
Acting Police Chief Kim Callahan describes the department's goals in a letter printed in the pamphlet.
"With community service as our foundation, the Vermillion Police Department is driven by goals to enhance the quality of life, investigating problems as well as incidents, seeking solutions and fostering a sense of security in the community," he states. "We attempt to nurture the trust of those we serve by holding ourselves to the highest standards of performance and ethics."
Newcomers who read the pamphlet will learn that it is a violation of city ordinances to park a vehicle on private property without permission, or remain parked for more than 24 hours on the street in any block.
They will learn that U-turns can be made lawfully at most intersections, but it is unlawful to cross a lane of traffic to enter or leave a parking spot. They will learn that the majority of streets in the city have speed limits of 25 miles per hour. The speed limit downtown is 20 miles per hour, and school zones have a 15 mile per hour limit when children are present.
One of the most frequent complaints received by the police department involves noise. If the problem is valid, with excessive noise and previous warnings, the occupant of the source of the noise may be arrested for disorderly conduct
or maintaining a disorderly house.
The pamphlet also points out the legal drinking age in South Dakota, and the consequences of people under 21 consuming, or attempting to buy alcohol.