Parents and students,
I would like to take an opportunity to better explain the position of the Waynesville Police Department concerning the Nerf war games discussed in an earlier post. First and foremost, the job of the Waynesville Police Department is to protect and serve. We want to preserve life and make this a safe community for people to live, work, shop, and visit. This was made evident by the collaborated effort of the Waynesville Police Department and the School Board to staff a school resource officer in our school system.
There have recently been many unforeseen incidents occurring in our country and we believe in taking a proactive approach to eliminate any potential threats to our community. We are not looking to arrest or charge anyone for participating in the Nerf war games, but we want people to understand the potential issues that could result from this activity. There is a difference between private property and public property. Property owners and renters have a reasonable expectation of privacy on their property. Businesses have an expectation of how patrons conduct themselves in their establishments, which can affect their sales. I point out these two issues because they are involved in complaints we have received concerning this game. We have received prowler calls, which turned out to be kids playing the game on someone’s private property. A video from one complainant showed young adults jumping their fence and running about their yard near their home. We also received a complaint that a person’s gate was left open, and they were in fear their dog would get out and run at large, possibly in the streets where it could get hit. Businesses have told us they have had to run kids out of their establishments because their actions offended customers. We have also been advised that kids are driving down the road and shooting out of their moving vehicles. Most of these occurrences are taking place at night when it is difficult to identify the people and their actions, which could easily scare someone.
Unfortunately, this fun and innocent game has gotten a little bit out of control, which inadvertently could affect an innocent person. We confiscated a toy gun on school property yesterday that had all the required identifications (orange safety tips and markings) removed from it. This is a violation of the school’s policy and is being investigated by school officials. My public notice was not to threaten anyone, it was to inform the public that this is a growing problem and we would like some assistance from parents and the public before it gets worse. The officers of the Waynesville Police Department take pride in working hard to keep this a safe and enjoyable community. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at 513-897-8010.