County adopts building rules

A code of conduct outlining unacceptable behaviors on county property was adopted by the Ward County Commission Tuesday.

The commission proposed the rules after concerns arose over the number of homeless individuals who had been spending daytime hours in the Ward County Administration Building when the nearby warming shelter was closed. Individuals sleeping, charging phones, storing baggage, cooking and eating in the lobby and bathing in restrooms raised concerns.

The code of conduct will be posted at atrium entrances of the county administration building but also apply to other county buildings.

The rules prohibit any person engaging in conduct that disturbs or interferes with patrons or employees on the property. This includes soliciting or begging, sleeping, placing feet on furniture, blocking aisles, exits or entrances, exhibiting offensive personal hygiene or failing to wear appropriate attire, such as shoes and shirts. Plugging personal devices into the county’s network is prohibited.

The rules don’t allow destructive or unsafe behavior, such as loud audio equipment, disorderly conduct and offensive language. Anyone who verbally or sexually harasses anyone on the property will be banned from the property for a year.

Using restrooms to bathe, shave, shampoo, do laundry or change clothes would be a violation. The county also reserves the right to inspect all bags or other items left unattended.

Other rules follow state law or city ordinance regarding items, such as alcohol and weapons, prohibited in the public buildings. There also are rules against bringing in animals other than service dogs, leaving unattended children or others needing personal assistance and photographing or videotaping without permission unless at a public meeting.

Violators will be asked to cease the prohibited action and may be ordered to leave the property. Continual violations may result in a “no trespassing order” issued by the sheriff’s department. Violation of such order would result in an arrest. Patrons whose privileges have been denied may request a review by the county commission.


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