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Orange County Focus

VILLA PARK : City Won't Accept Anonymous Tips

August 02, 1994|BILL BILLITER

If you want action on your complaint to City Hall, don't make an anonymous telephone call.

Under a new policy adopted unanimously by the City Council, callers must give their name and address when making complaints about such things as dogs barking and the illegal parking of boats.

City Manager Fred W. Maley requested the policy change at the council's July 26 meeting. He said City Hall has an almost impossible task in trying to check up on anonymous complaints.

"People are very reluctant to state their names and addresses," Maley said.

City Clerk Kaysene Miller said the small size of Villa Park's city staff makes it difficult to check on the truthfulness of anonymous tips and complaints. "We don't have the ability to go out and search and document the incidents," she said.

Maley said the city staff attempts to determine the accuracy of complaints by telephoning the households alleged to be causing problems. But he said having no name or address of the complaining source often "renders us ineffectual" in prosecuting a violation of a city ordinance.

City Atty. Leonard Hampel told the council that in its initial investigation of a complaint, the city does not need to disclose the name of the person who called in. "There's no reason on the front end to give out the name of the complaining party," Hampel said. But he added that if matters proceed into court, "to get a conviction, you really need the testimony of the complaining party."

Some council members said they could easily understand why residents hesitate in giving their names and addresses when calling in complaints.

"We live in an age when people retaliate," Councilman Bob Patchin said. "I can understand that wish for anonymity."

But Patchin and the rest of the council ultimately agreed that anonymous complaints simply do not get the job done.

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