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Police play basketball with kids in response to noise complaint

A noise complaint deemed frivolous led Greater Sudbury police officers to join a group of youths celebrating a girl’s birthday for a game of basketball

In response to a noise complaint regarding youths playing basketball at 7 a.m. on Sunday, police officers attended the scene to join them for a quick game.

A complaint was made to the city’s Emergency Communications Centre from someone “disgruntled that children were playing basketball and making too much noise,” according to a Facebook post by Greater Sudbury Police Service.

“Officers attended the location to educate the complainant that children are indeed allowed to play outdoors and make reasonable noise while doing so,” the post clarified.

One of the youths was celebrating her birthday with siblings by using the new basketball net she’d received as a gift, and officers stuck around to play a quick game with her.

The GSPS post regarding the incident concluded with a message: “Happy birthday, Payton!”

The action of police officers received immediate positive attention on social media, with various people commending police, wishing the youngster a happy birthday and criticizing the complainant.

“Thank you to officers for making a birthday a special one,” one commenter said. “Maybe the complainer should have joined in, little fun with kids might have just brightened up her/his day!”

The city’s noise bylaw prohibits certain activities from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., including the operation of construction equipment, and other noise-generating tools or devices, such as lawnmowers and chainsaws. 

“Unusual sound” is also prohibited, for which a municipal report notes, “the assessment of noise complaints will be undertaken at the point of reception of the noise for the purpose of confirming whether the noise is likely to disturb the inhabitants of the City of Greater Sudbury and would be considered a violation.”

None of the examples listed in the city’s bylaw are noises produced as a result of sports, and police spokesperson Kaitlynn Dunn clarified that a small group of youths playing basketball would be considered a “reasonable noise.”

“Community engagement is part of our shared commitment to community safety and well-being and our officers take every opportunity to engage with youth in a positive manner,” she wrote in emailed correspondence with 

“These types of interactions are not only positive for the youth involved, but are also a very positive experience for our officers. The majority of calls for service have officers responding to situations where individuals are experiencing unimaginable trauma or a crisis. These community interactions leave a lasting impression on everyone involved and our ultimate goal is to ensure that youth in our community know that we are there to help and that we are approachable.”

Noise complaints are typically directed to the city’s customer service phone number, 311, though can be redirected to police outside of operating hours.