OSHKOSH - If you break the rules in an Oshkosh park, you may not be welcome back.
Stephanie Alvarez enjoys bringing her children to Menominee Park, but says she doesn't want them out of her sight.
"Not knowing who's at the park and what their background is, it is quite a scary experience," explained Alvarez.
And Oshkosh police officer Joe Nichols told FOX 11 some parks have been scarier recently.
"Rude and indecent behavior, and people were being arrested on a continuous basis," said Nichols.
According to Parks Director Ray Maurer, police were called to 575 disturbances at city parks in 2011. In 2012, that number jumped to about 700 calls. Among those disturbances were people drinking alcohol in parks after hours, sleeping in bathrooms and vandalism.
So Maurer and the police department are asking the city council to pass an ordinance to ban certain offenders from all city parks.
"Hopefully it'll cut down on some of the police calls here in the parks and let them do some of their other duties," said Maurer.
Maurer told us people could be banned for as short as three days for minor, first-time offenses, to as long as life for felonies.
Under the proposal, the parks director would ultimately decide the punishment. Offenders would be able to appeal.
"It's a privilege to be able to use the city parks system, so that's one of the reasons we feel there is case law that supports this park suspension policy," explained Maurer.
When it comes to enforcement, the ban would be handled much like driving with a revoked license. If a banned person is caught in a park, he or she would face harsher citations or punishments.
"If you're getting to the point of a park suspension, you're probably not seeing the police for the first time. So they're aware of who you are and what you've been doing," said Maurer.
"With this ordinance, hopefully we'll be able to return the parks back to the families.," said Nichols.
Families like Alvarez and her children.
"It's a good idea for some people," said Alvarez.
The Oshkosh City Council will consider the shape up or stay away plan at its meeting Tuesday night.
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