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Mission Viejo party hosts could face hefty fines

August 20, 2013|By Adolfo Flores

Mission Viejo party hosts could end up paying for a helicopter in addition to the keg.

Under an ordinance passed by the City Council on Monday, hosts could be fined for the costs of Orange County deputies, K-9 units and helicopters that respond to  repeat calls about a “loud or disruptive” gathering.

“We’re not going to come out like the Gestapo and start slapping fines on people,” said Lt. Chris Wilson, chief of sheriff services for Mission Viejo. “But it’s a useful tool the deputies can use to solve a problem and help ensure the quality of life for others.”

Officials said repeated responses drain resources and time.

In July, deputies received 94 calls for loud parties. Fourteen of those required one or more return visits and 22 were broken up, according to a staff report. On average the calls lasted about 16 minutes.

The fines will depend on the needed response, said Lt. Jeff Hallock, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, which serves Mission Viejo.

“If a sergeant shows up, they’ll be charged for their time,” Hallock said. “And if a helicopter shows up, they’ll be charge for their time.”

Lake Forest has a similar ordinance, except it charges $100 for the first offense, $250 for the second call and $500 for each following response, Hallock said.

The law is scheduled for a second reading on Sept. 3 and goes into effect 30 days after, said Mission Viejo Councilwoman Trish Kelley.

"If our law enforcement officers are responding to party calls, they are not available to get quickly to a real danger or need," Kelley said.

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adolfo.flores@latimes.com

Follow Adolfo Flores on Twitter.

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