Brook Park mulls public protected zone for on-line consumers, custody exchanges

BROOK PARK, Ohio – Brook Park City Council is considering creating a safe outdoor exchange area near the police station.

Councilor Jim Mencini proposed a law at the Caucus on April 13 to provide for this, stressing that residents should feel “completely safe”, especially when meeting strangers to buy items through online sites or sell.

“If people exchange things, they could have a safe area,” Mencini explained. “It could also be an exchange with some kind of child benefit that a woman might not feel comfortable exchanging her child with. Or maybe there is a young man who sells a car to people he doesn’t know. “

The zone would not be monitored, but security cameras would monitor the designated location. He said a police officer told him that there may be space on the police department’s property “as long as it does not conflict with their duties” or the operation of the station.

Councilor Rick Salvatore called the legislation “a great idea with a lot of potential”. However, he asked if the city could be held liable in the event of an incident in the safe transition area.

Legal Director Carol Horvath responded by recommending that certain conditions be met when establishing the zone. She suggested installing signage showing surveillance of the area only with the camera. She also said that an emergency number should be displayed in a prominent place.

“The legal risk is minimal when we do these things right and people understand that no one is directly monitoring them,” Horvath said, adding that she will put these provisions in writing for the council to review.

Brecksville, Parma and Olmsted Township have established exchange zones.

Councilor Lisa Schmuck recalled a case in which she accompanied a friend who was picking up an online item from a seller. She described the exchange area as “sketchy”.

“I felt insecure,” said Schmuck to Mencini. “I am glad that you are driving this legislation forward.”

The regulation will appear for consideration on the next regular agenda of the Council.

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