Police Department: Frequently Asked Questions
Can I drive my scooter on the roadway or sidewalks?
No, it is illegal to drive a motorized scooter on a roadway or sidewalk. Click here for more information.
Important information regarding motorized scooters
Motorized scooters may not be operated on roadways, sidewalks or bicycle ways.
What is a Motorized Scooter?
In general, a "motorized scooter" is a vehicle that is designed to be stood or sat upon by the operator and that has two small-diameter wheels in tandem, upright t-shaped handlebars, and is powered by an internal combustion engine or electric motor that is capable of propelling the device with or without human propulsion. Top speeds are generally 8-20 mph. These may not be operated on the roadway, sidewalks or bicycle ways. They can be operated with permission on private property, and on private roads and driveways.
Do not confuse motorized scooters with mopeds. Mopeds, of course, can be operated lawfully on public roads. A "moped" is usually a Type 1 motorcycle that is incapable of speeds faster than 30 miles per hour, is equipped with an automatic transmission, an engine certified by the manufacturer at not more than 50 cubic centimeters or an equivalent power unit, and a seat for the operator. Sec. 340.01(29m), Wis. Stats. This definition includes models such as the Honda Spree, Honda Metropolitan, Yamaha Jog and Yamaha Vino (shown below).
I'm hosting a party, is there anything I should do?
Yes, there are several guidelines you should know about. Click here for more information.
Guidelines for Hosting a House Party
Having a party? Here are some guidelines to help you keep control of your party and possibly avoid law enforcement intervention.
- Limit the party only to invited or known guests. Don't have an "open party" that anyone off the street can attend. Guests you don't know do not always have your best interest in mind and may damage or steal your property.
- Keep the size of your party reasonable. Too many guests often attracts the attention of police and neighbors.
- Be a responsible host. You should maintain the ability to monitor the behavior, health and safety of your guests and be able to identify and report emergencies. It is possible that you may be held legally responsible if something happens to one of your guests.
- Monitor the noise level. Typically, house parties are brought to our attention because of excessive noise. This includes noise complaints (neighbors calling), party noise (people yelling, loud music), fights & disturbances, people gathering outside (hanging out in the street, driveways, porches).
- Don't become a bar. If you are selling alcohol or charging admission (selling cups) to enter your home, you have become a bar and are selling / dispensing alcohol without a permit.
- Do not serve to, or allow underage persons to consume alcohol at your party, it is unlawful.
- Keep the alcohol inside or on your property. Don't allow guests to leave your home with open intoxicants. If they are on the street with open intoxicants, they can be issued a citation and will attract our attention to your party.
If the police do show up at the party, what should we do?
- Have a responsible host come outside and contact us. We are generally there because of a complaint, but may have other reasons to contact you. Refusing to answer the door or contact us will not avoid a citation. We may go away that night, but we will contact you in the following days. You can be cited after the fact.
- Be cooperative and courteous. You will be treated fairly by cooperating with us. Bring identification with you when you contact us. Ask your guests to avoid trying to influence our decisions. We have procedures that we follow when dealing with these situations. Arguing the merits of a citation at that time is counter-productive. If a citation is issued, you will have a court date that you may attend to argue your case.
How to keep your party safe......
- Offer non-alcoholic beverages and food. Some people can't or may not want to drink.
- Don't let intoxicated guests drive home or leave alone. You have assumed some responsibility for their behavior by serving them.
- Use common sense. Parties can be high-risk situations, with many potential, costly consequences associated with hosting one. Getting intoxicated can be dangerous. Students have been injured and have even died in house party situations. As a result, much of the liability is on the shoulders of the host.
- Attend parties with friends and never walk home alone!
Does the Police Department do fingerprinting and when can I have my fingerprints done?
Yes, fingerprinting is done Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. There is a $35.00 fee for this service. You must bring your fingerprint card with you, have it filled out in black ink, and have a valid picture ID. Please call the Police Department at (715) 425-0909 to check the availability of personnel to do fingerprinting.
Why did it take so long for the Police to come when I called them?
All requests for Police services are assigned to priority based on the seriousness of the incident and the potential for injury or damage to property. At times, calls of less urgent nature must be delayed so that we can respond immediately to emergencies.
Why do they ask so many questions when I call the police?
Dispatchers are trained to try to get as much information as possible to best determine the nature of the problem and its seriousness. On emergency calls, the Dispatcher may have already given the information to the Officer while continuing to ask additional questions.
Can the Police open my car if I have locked my keys inside?
No... The Police Department does not unlock car doors. There are several local businesses that provide this service for a nominal fee. They are:
- Bowen's 425-2626 (during business hours)
- Jensen Automotive 425-9702 (8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.)
- Jerry's Inc. 425-2706 (24 hours a day)
- Swede's Service 425-5377 (day) 425-6445 (day or evening)
** In case of emergency, i.e. child locked inside, officers will assist.
Someone has abandoned a junk car in my parking lot or on my property. Can the Police tow it away for me?
The Police Department has a abandoned / junked vehicle ordinance prohibiting such vehicles from being left for an extended period of time on public or private property. If you feel that a vehicle may be abandoned or junked, please call the Police Department. Generally, a vehicle parked on private property without consent of the property owner may be ticketed by the Police, but removal is the property owner's responsibility. A vehicle parked on private property, (in violation of the ordinance), with the property owner's consent may be ticketed and ultimately removed by order of the Municipal Court.
How can I find out if someone is in jail, when someone in jail can be visited and any other information about persons in jail?
The River Falls Police Department does not have a jail. Please contact the Pierce County Jail directly at 715-273-5051 or the St. Croix County Jail at 715-386-4752 to inquire about someone.
How do I get a copy of a Police report?
The River Falls Police Department operates under Wisconsin's Open Records Law. Copies are .25 cents per page for 8 1/2 x 11 and .35 cents per page for 11 x 17. The review process usually takes 5 to 10 working days to complete. If you cannot come into the police department, reports can be mailed if you send a self addressed stamped envelope along with the case number and the processing fee. Click here for an Open Records Request Form.
Where do I go to pay my Parking Ticket or Traffic/City Ordinance Violation citation?
Parking tickets can be paid by mail or in person at the Police Department, or at one of the red drop boxes located at the following locations:
- Public Safety Building Entrance - 125 E. Elm Street
- Intersections of N. Main & Maple
- Intersections of S. Main & Walnut
- Intersection of Main & Elm
Parking Tickets may also now be paid online. CLICK HERE to pay your parking ticket online.
Traffic/City Ordinance Violation Citations are processed through the River Falls Municipal Court, located at 222 Lewis Street, Suite 102. If you have any questions about paying for a Traffic/City Ordinance Violation citation or you would like to set a hearing date, please contact the Municipal Court directly at 715-426-3429 or 715-426-3430.
Can I make a Police report at any time of day and do I need to make an appointment?
The Police Department will respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week to requests for police assistance. Normal business hours are 8 AM to 5 PM, Monday - Friday. The Police Department entrance is open 24 hours a day with a direct phone line to the dispatcher.
Can I make a Police report over the telephone or does a police officer have to come to my house?
Generally, all reports must be made in person. Contact the Police Department at 715-425-0909. An Officer will be dispatched to your home or business to meet with you. If you find it more convenient you may come to the Police Department at 125 East Elm Street to meet with an Officer.
What is a restraining order and how do I get one?
A restraining order is a court order that prohibits one person from having contact with another. Restraining orders are generally used when one person wants protection from another. Click here for more information on restraining orders and how to get one.
We have a problem with speeders in our neighborhood. What can we do about it?
Call the Police Department at 715-425-0909 to notify us. We may place the radar trailer in your neighborhood.
I have a question regarding the rights and responsibilities of landlord's and tenants. Where can I get information on this topic?
The River Falls Police Department generally does not get involved in investigating or giving advice relating to this topic as they are usually civil issues and not criminal. One of the best resources for information on this topic is a booklet entitled "Landlord's and Tenants, The Wisconsin Way," published by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The booklet can be accessed by contacting one of the following regional offices of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection:
- Eau Claire (715) 839-3848
- Green Bay (414) 448-5110
- Madison (608) 224-4960
- Milwaukee (414) 266-1231
- Toll-Free consumer hotline 1-800-422-7128
The Police Department does have a copy of this booklet available for public review.
Should I report suspicious activity in my neighborhood?
YES.....The importance of citizens calling to report crimes or suspicious activity cannot be over emphasized. Crime prevention and the solution to crimes or violations already committed depend greatly on information provided by citizens. The dispatcher who takes your call will ask questions about the activity to determine its nature and ask for a description of the people involved. Information such as a vehicle's license plate number, color, make or a persons clothing, hair, build, etc... are important. You may be asked if an officer may contact you in person for further information / clarification. You can also leave us a tip on the Crime Stoppers web site.