WESTBROOK, Maine — Westbrook Police Chief Janine Roberts took to Facebook Sunday to address concerns with the police's authority to enforce noise violations from the Rock Row concerts.
"First, I want to acknowledge that anything that negatively impacts our quality of life is stressful, heightens our emotions, and has rippling effects," Chief Roberts wrote. "If there was something we could do, we would."
Roberts said City of Westbrook leaders authorized Waterfront concerts to operate the Maine Savings Pavilion concert venue within certain parameters, including sound decibels no louder than 55 dbs.
She said the city established an administrative process in relation to noise complaints, requiring Waterfront Concerts to create a "noise compliance officer" and a hotline for people to call in complaints (207-558-6007).
"We encourage all those who are negatively impacted by the concert noise to call this number. This is THE MOST APPROPRIATE AND DIRECT METHOD of making sure your concerns are heard and logged." Roberts wrote.
She explained that Westbrook Police officers do not have authority to order concert promoters or artists to lower their sound volume unless they exceed the limit of 55 decibels.
"To our knowledge, they have not exceeded this level to date. So, calling Westbrook Public Safety Dispatch is not going to result in a police response," she wrote.
Roberts said the decibel level at the venue is measured on a continual basis, and that City staff are working with concert promoters and the property owners to measure the decibel levels in Westbrook and Portland neighborhoods that hear the concert noise.
She said that because the concerts are city-authorized events, and are operating within the restrictions set by the city, the concerts are operating legally, and there are no enforcement actions police can take.
Police wrote in a Facebook post Saturday that they received more than 300 phone calls specifically regarding noise from Rock Row, stating it is more than all non-emergency and 911 calls they handle on a normal day.
In a statement prior to Saturday's "Slightly Stoopid" concert, Rock Row posted on Facebook saying the team and Waterfront Concerts have worked to improve the phone line to the event compliance officer, and did more sound monitoring to reduce impact on neighbors.
"On his behalf, I APOLOGIZE TO ANYONE HE OFFENDED. I ALSO APOLOGIZE TO ANYONE I OFFEND with anything I state in this post," Roberts wrote. "Finally, we at Westbrook PD and Westbrook Public Safety Dispatch REMAIN COMMITTED TO SERVING AND PROTECTING the public. We will continue to partner with you with the goal of making our city as safe as humanly possible. The noise issue related to the concerts operating within set restrictions is just one circumstance we have no authority over."
The next concert coming to Rock Row is Young the Giant and Fitz and the Tantrums on June 20 at 6 p.m.