Controversy over a disorderly conduct ordinance in Lake Ozark just won’t go away.
The city has been dogged by its decision to tighten the reigns on how individuals can conduct themselves in public. Aldermen approved an amendment to an existing ordinance in February that establishes stricter rules regarding disorderly conduct.
Since then, a handful of individuals have shared their concerns during board meetings, and the ordinance has been the topic of discussion on radio, in print and online.
Two citizens approached the board April 23 during the public comment portion of the meeting, reiterating much of what has been said previously.
Brian Vanderhoof was first to speak, telling the board that people want to speak on the ordinance, but the city has declined to place the item on the agenda. He said the ordinance only hurts businesses in the city, and will result in visitors staying away from Lake Ozark. He called the ordinance vague.
Shaun Murphy spoke next, claiming the city did not follow the law by not allowing copies of the ordinance to be available to the public. He said there was no time for the public to review the ordinance before it was passed. He said the ordinance was invalid and inappropriate based on state statues.
At the request of the Lake Ozark Police Department, City Attorney Roger Gibbons prepared an ordinance for the board’s consideration at the Feb. 12 board meeting. The ordinance, at the time under consideration and unapproved, would make it unlawful for an individual to knowingly or recklessly engage in disorderly conduct in a public place within the city limits.
The purpose of the ordinance was to help law enforcement officers maintain peace and order in public places, according to a memo to the mayor and board from Gibbons.
After some brief discussion, the ordinance was approved unanimously.
A person commits an act of disorderly conduct if he or she knowingly:
•Uses abusive, offensive, indecent profane or vulgar language and the language tends to disturb the peace of another person, invoking or inciting violence in another person, or causes alarm or annoyance in another person.
•Makes an offensive gesture or display and the gesture or display tends to disturb the peace of another person, invoke or incite violence by another person.
•Insults, taunts, challenges or threatens another person in a public place that tends to disturb the peace of another person, invoke or incite violence.
•Engages in fighting, brawling or other violent behavior.
•Obstructs or hinders the movement of people in vehicles on any public street or highway
Page 2 of 2 - •Creates a condition that presents a risk of physical harm or injury
•Displays a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a public place in a manner that tends to cause alarm to another person
•Without any lawful authority disturbs lawful assemblies or meetings.