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Sheriff: Enforcing noise law would be costly

A resolution passed last week by Lawrence County Commissioners may put additional strain on the sheriff’s budget.

At the request of Jill Romanello of the Elkins Creek Horse Camp, the commissioners approved a resolution that would require motorcycles to obey state law regarding decibel levels.

Romanello petitioned the commission because she said motorcycles were creating a disturbance to visitors at the horse camp.

Now Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless said to enforce the law, he will need additional funds of between $37,200 to $51,000 to pay for radars and decibel meters.

“In reading the law, I will also have to purchase speed radars for each cruiser because the law specifies different decibel levels for different speeds of the motorcycle,” the sheriff wrote in a letter to the commissioners on Monday. “If we do not put a radar and decibel meter in each vehicle, we will not be able to enforce the law effectively.”

Radar units run between $2,100 to $2,700 and 17 will be needed. Decibel meters would cost between $1,500 to $5,100 totally.

“Please forward this resolution to the city of Ironton because the entire motorcycle rally will be in violation,” Lawless said. “ We receive more complaints during that event than the entire summer everywhere else. We cannot enforce the law in one part of the county and look the other way in another part of the county.”

While Lawless’ letter was not discussed in the meeting, Romanello said amendments to the law could be made to allow the rally and that she would look for grants to pay for the equipment.

“But I don’t know what the criteria is,” she said.

She also encouraged the sheriff to look for grants as well.

However, Lawless said taking advantage of grants requires a local match.

“Where would I get that money,” he said. “It should be noted that the sheriff’s office has always enforced Ohio law and resolutions from your body of government would not change that. I would suggest that in the future that law enforcement matters be referred to the sheriff or that you at least consult with me.”