STAFFORD – The police chief issued a statement that the police did not censor patriotic music being played, but was enforcing the volume at which it was being played.
Every night for more than 60 evenings one resident on Paul Boulevard in the Beach Haven West section of town plays “God Bless America” and other songs at 7:30 p.m. to recognize front line workers. A neighbor complained and police came out to the home.
Chief Thomas Dellane said the police were not there to shut down the music, just asking that it be turned down. He said that there was “misinformation” posted to the Beach Haven West Community Group Facebook page that the police were shutting them down.
The chief said the music is broadcast for about 15 minutes and ends with “God Bless America.” On May 26, police got a noise complaint about it. He underscored that it was never about the choice of music but about the volume of the music.
The officer who responded found that the volume did violate the noise ordinance, he said.
However, and the chief wrote this in all caps: “At no time did the officer tell anyone that the music could not be played.” The officer asked for the volume to be turned down and issued a warning to the property owners.
“I personally love patriotic music and respect everyone’s right to listen to music as they choose. However, our noise ordinance was crafted to carefully balance the rights of people to listen to music and the right of people to quiet enjoyment of their property,” Dellane said. “There are residents of Beach Haven West that work shift work and are sleeping at the time this music is being played. There are residents of Beach Haven West that have small children that they are putting down to sleep at the time the music is being played and there are residents who have medical conditions that are exasperated by loud noises. It is for these and other reasons that the noise ordinance restricts the volume of music that can be played.”
This is another case of people on social media not getting all the facts before they react, he said.
“I respectfully request that in the future, people take the time to ascertain accurate facts prior to rushing to judgment about the actions of our police department,” he said.
Another part of the story that Dellane said was a rumor was that a police sergeant was annoyed by the music while he was kayaking and ordered the music to be shut down.
“This is simply not true. After the property owner was advised to lower the volume of the music, he asked to speak with a supervisor. Our police sergeant did in fact speak with the property owner about our noise ordinance and mentioned that a few days prior, he heard them playing ‘Going to the Chapel’ while he was kayaking in the bay over one mile from the property owner’s residence. The sergeant shared this information merely to illustrate to the property owner how far the sound of the music was travelling. The sergeant at no time filed a complaint or directed any officer to take enforcement action based on his observations,” the chief said.