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Chesterfield Council ammends city code to allow anonymous complaints

After a lengthy debate, the Chesterfield City Council approved changes to city code that would allow anonymous complaints.

Police Chief Ray Johnson believes that the city code should reflect what actually takes place in the police department in that it receives and accepts mostly anonymous complaints. Current city code requires the name and address of the person registering a complaint regarding property and maintenance issues.

Under the proposed changes, providing a name and address is not required.

However, there were vastly different ideas from the council as to whether that would be an improvement.

Council member Tom DeCampi [Ward 4] said that it would create more anonymous complaints and that people would retaliate against one another. “We’re going to be flooded with complaints,” he said. “You’re basically giving anonymous complaints a green light.”

Council member Barb McGuinness [Ward 1] said that as a former trustee, she found that neighbors didn’t want to leave their name if they were reporting on another neighbor. “Let them be free to say what they want,” she said.

Council member Ben Keathley [Ward 2] recommended changes to the wording so that a name and address “may” be required, but council members believed it would be too subjective and voted against those changes, with the mayor breaking the tie vote.

The council then approved the original amendments by a vote of 5-3 with Keathley, Michelle Ohley [Ward 4] and DeCampi voting against it.

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