Feedback: Thompson Park & Its Curfew


Watertown city police have been patrolling Thompson Park at night for years.

It's against the law to be in the park after 9 p.m.

But after a recent ruling, Mayor Jeff Graham is questioning what it even means for the park to be closed.

"The issue is whether the roads stay open as public roads, even if the facilities themselves are off limits," said Graham.

The issue started with a James Cheal of Carthage.

Police pulled him over in Thompson Park at around 1 a.m. for being in the closed park. 

Then he was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated. 

But in a ruling this week, all the evidence collected while Cheal was allegedly driving drunk that night was thrown out.

According to the judge, the sign stating the park hours didn't look like a traffic sign.

It just looks like any other sign.

Therefore, the driver couldn't know about the law prohibiting him from driving in the park.

The ruling doesn't address the law itself, the part about it being illegal to drive in the park after 9 p.m.

But, Graham says that law needs to be looked at.

"The next step is not to just run out and paint bigger signs, the step is to try to understand the distinction between public roads that go through a park, while the park and its amenities may be closed, the public roads are clearly open," said Graham.

The question now: is there the political will to do anything about the law in an election year.

Graham says he's not sure there is.

Share Your Thoughts for Your Turn or leave a comment on our Facebook Facebook page

Saturday, December 10, 2016
, Watertown, NY

On Demand

This content requires the latest Adobe Flash Player and a browser with JavaScript enabled. Click here for a free download of the latest Adobe Flash Player.

On Wall Street