Springfield Police Department struggles to enforce noisy vehicle ordinance, staffing shortages play a role

Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 7:33 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The Springfield Police Department is trying to crack down on noisy vehicles.

In May 2021, the department said more officers were going to patrol the streets to enforce the noisy vehicle ordinance. The police department wasn’t able to provide KY3 with the exact number of tickets given out since the decision to increase enforcement. However, Capt. Culley Wilson says it’s not as many as SPD had hoped. The reason for that is there’s not enough manpower because of the staffing shortages SPD has been facing.

”We don’t have as much free time of course,” Capt. Wilson says. “Sometimes we will have somebody with a loud motorcycle, a loud vehicle, that passes us. We know it’s a violation. We can’t stop that vehicle because we’re going to a more high-priority call or a dangerous call. Someone’s life’s in danger.”

Capt. Wilson says the decision to enforce these types of calls came from community complaints. It isn’t a certain decibel requirement to pull someone over for a noisy vehicle. Capt. Wilson says it’s a problem if the muffler or radio can be heard from over 50 feet away or if the noise disturbs the peace of a nearby residence.

“If you’re driving a normal car with a muffler, it’s not gonna be a problem,” Capt. Wilson says. “We’re looking for these obnoxious, loud, that you can hear inside of a building type of violation.”

Reports of loud cars are coming in from all across Springfield. However, a decent amount comes from the downtown area, especially on the weekends. Chloe Cash lives downtown and says she can hear it in her apartment almost all day and all night.

“It’s really hard sometimes when you’re trying to fall asleep and the cars are driving by or you’re just trying to talk in your living room and sometimes it’s so loud you can barely hear each other talk,” Cash says.

Cash says she doesn’t feel like it’s gotten any better.

“I’ve never seen I feel like anyone get pulled over or anything for it,” Cash says. “It’s really loud all the time.”

It’s not just the noisy cars or motorcycles.

SPD says it’s also connected to people driving carelessly, speeding, or other illegal activity.

“A lot of these motorcycles have after-market pipes that they put on them,” Capt. Wilson says. “An aftermarket muffler. A lot of times they’re illegal to make more noise and that’s an issue.”

For Cash, she doesn’t plan to stay in downtown Springfield because of it.

“Friends come over who don’t live downtown and pretty much all of them comment on how loud the cars are when they pass outside,” Cash says. “When my parents helped me move in they were like wow these cars are really loud. Everyone notices it and it’s very annoying.”

Capt. Wilson is encouraging people to call 911 to report any noisy cars.

“A lot of it is coming in overnight,” Capt. Wilson says. “We see a lot of that because people are trying to sleep and someone is speeding by their house with an illegal muffler on a motorcycle or car. That’s gonna wake you up and that’s what we get.”

If you get pulled over, Capt. Wilson says it’s up to the officer’s discretion if you get a warning or a summons for having a loud muffler.

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