Sunday, January 28, 2001

Smoking law burdens cops

The Associated Press

        FINDLAY, Ohio — A new law that makes it illegal for children to possess or consume tobacco products will be difficult — and possibly too time consuming — to enforce, the city police chief said.

        Children who violate the law, which takes effect March 15, can be ticketed, fined up to $100, and required to attend a smoking education program. Those who fail to pay the fine or complete the education program can be ordered to do community service.

        Police Chief Tom Renninger said the law will create additional burdens for officers. He doesn't think his department has the manpower to watch out for young smokers, let alone write tickets, confiscate evidence, do paperwork and possibly have to appear in court.

        “Are we going to utilize our already limited resources to prosecute a cigarette smoker when we have crack dealers out there? Probably not,” Chief Renninger told The Courier. “I'm concerned with how much time it is going to take.”


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