THPD enforce dance permit ordinance

Officers say the community is safer thanks to a city ordinance requiring a permit for dance parties but not everyone is happy with enforcement efforts.

Posted: Apr 24, 2018 10:33 PM
Updated: Apr 25, 2018 7:38 AM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Officers say the community is safer thanks to a city ordinance requiring a permit for dance parties but not everyone is happy with enforcement efforts.


The Terre Haute city council passed the ordinance in 2017. You can see the city code (Sec. 4-310) here.

The ordinance states anyone hosting a dance or allowing a dance party on their property without a permit can be cited. Hosts also need liability insurance.

Terre Haute Police Sergeant Denzil Lewis explains the rule was created to crack down on violent crime at parties, particularly those near the Indiana State University campus hosted by current and former students.

He says some people make money hosting parties and many of the people throwing the parties are former students who rent out empty homes and charge people to get in.

"We have seen a marked decrease in shootings. We have actually, the weekends that we've been out enforcing the dance permit, we have had zero incidents."

He says an estimated thirty citations have been issued since the start of the school year.

Not everyone is pleased with enforcement.

Tommy Williams lives on Liberty Avenue. He says his weekend birthday party was interrupted.

"We try to have a good time out here sitting on my property having a good time associating with family but we couldn't do that because they shut us down."

Williams was given a ticket for not having a dance permit. He says he had never heard of a dance permit.

Sergeant Lewis says, ""If we see a house that is obviously having a dance party we will approach it but for the most part the majority of these have been calls for service and we've responded to them and we've issued the citations."

Williams says he did get a noise complaint.

Sergeant Lewis was one of the officers on scene for Williams' party Saturday night but he declined to comment on the specifics of the case at this time.

Williams says the ticket will cost him $37 but he plans to fight it.

Sergeant Lewis says officers are not trying to ruin anyone's fun.

"The purpose of this is to make sure that if you're going to have a dance, if you're going to have an event, that you file with the city that you're going to have the event and that a security plan is in place and that we know how many people are going to be there."

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