New London Police are launching "Operation Quiet-Down" in response to an uptick in noise complaints throughout the city.
"We felt that in order to address service calls and the needs of our residents, we had to take it one step up," said Chief Brian Wright.
Wright said noise complaints are common every summer, but so far this year the number of complaints has outpaced last year. The complaints include fireworks, loud parties, revving car and motorcycle engines.
"By no means is this to target any specific group, we just want everyone to enjoy their pastime but in a manner which is considerate of their peers and neighbors," said Wright.
The city has a noise ordinance with certain rules and exemptions. Wright said the department is not reinventing the wheel. Police can write citations if people are not following the ordinance. However, Wright said, this effort is about education first.
"We understand that there are those times where everyone gets excited and they are having a good time," said Wright. "And as long as everyone is in compliance and willing to meet us, we are good to go.”
According to the police department, officers will actively patrol for vehicles/motorcycles that create excessive noise and identify any violations necessary.
Helen Sandalls lives near the beach in New London. She said noise can sometimes be an issue in her neighborhood, but it is usually caused by speeding cars.
“You can probably hit two birds with one stone on that," said Sandalls.
According to Wright, that is a situation where enforcement would come into play because their primary concern is unsafe driving. If it is just a noise issue, the police department would start with a conversation.
“Fireworks every night? Okay, that might be on the excessive side. But I think people playing music? That’s different," said Maya Sheppard, who lives in New London.
Sheppard also runs a youth organization, Hearing Youth Voices. She said she was concerned that this type of effort would target certain communities or keep people from expressing themselves.
“What are we saying? Are we saying we can’t make noise at all? Is it not welcomed to center spaces of joy and community that sometimes come with noise?” said Sheppard.
Chief Wright said the police department is not trying to stop people from celebrating.
“You can still enjoy, just not be as loud or noisy where it becomes an issue," said Wright.
NLPD will add personnel on varied dates and times to field noise complaints. They have not issued any citations at this point.