Tuesday, April 1, 2014 || By Nicholas Samuel, Contributing Reporter
Updated: April 1, 2014, 1:09 PM
Maywood residents are urging the police department to reinforce an ordinance that allows police to ticket anyone sagging their pants.
The ordinance, implemented in October 2012, prohibits individuals, regardless of age, from appearing “on any public property (including streets, sidewalks or buses) in the Village of Maywood in a state that exposes any portion of a person’s buttocks, pubic area, genitals and/or undergarments.”
Fines “of not less than $25 on the first offense, not less than $100 for a second offense and not less than $250 for each subsequent offense” may be issued to violators or the parents/legal guardians of violators who are under 18.
Dorothy Lane, a Maywood resident, said that, since the ordinance’s adoption, sagging has become even worse and it looks degrading.
“Sometimes their underwear shows and you can see their naked behind,” said Lane. “They pull them down as far as they can get them.”
Lane said she believes police have stopped enforcing the ordinance.
The resident added that she plans to fill out a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to find out how many tickets police have written since last December.
“Recently me and my neighbor were walking and saw a group of boys walk by police cars with their pants sagging,” said the 77-year-old. “When I asked the officers if they were going to issue tickets, one said he was on vacation and the other said he was headed to a meeting.”
Lane said she even sees girls and children in middle school sagging their pants.
Longtime Maywoodian Gloria Clay has also been a persistent advocate for stronger reinforcement of the ordinance, tailoring her public comments in several Village Board meetings to the issue.
“I’d like to know where the signs for the ordinance are,” she said at a meeting held in January of last year, implying that public awareness of the ordinance could be higher.
Maywood police, however, emphasize that the one group of residents who should be most aware of the ordinance–young people–are duly informed. The police say they enforce the ordinance everyday that they’re out on the streets.
“Kids know to pull up their pants quick if they see an officer,” said Pirsa Allen, community service officer for the Maywood Police Department. “We don’t give warnings, just tickets. If anyone sees another person sagging they can call us and we’ll go to the scene and write up a ticket.”
Allen said last year the police department gave out 41 tickets for sagging pants.
“If they can’t pay the ticket then they come to court and we give them community service,” said Allen.
The community services officer said police have put up “Stop the Sag” posters in businesses around Maywood and schools such as Proviso East High School. VFP