Disturbance Calls & Noise Complaints

The amount of time officers spend, especially on weekends, answering such calls for service can be a drain on Department resources.

Definition of Disturbing the Peace

A person’s peace can be disturbed in many different ways; it all depends on the individual. Loud music, construction noise and barking dogs are all examples of potentially disturbing noise. What is disturbing to one person may not be disturbing to another. The courts take into consideration a "reasonable person of normal sensitivity" when determining whether the noise violates the law.

Making a Complaint

A police officer’s peace cannot be disturbed. Therefore, it is necessary for a private person to make a complaint against a noise offender. If you are concerned about retaliation, you can make the complaint anonymously. Just call 911 and tell the operator that you do not wish to be contacted by the officers. The police officers will not reveal your identity to the offender when they contact them regarding the complaint.

Pressing a Complaint

Sometimes, if the offender is uncooperative and they refuse to quiet down, you may be asked if you want to make a press charges for “disturbing the peace.” If this happens, you will have to make your identity known to the offender. The 911 operator and officers who respond to your call will explain your options in more detail and answer any questions you may have.

Additional Information

This guide is intended to provide an overview of noise regulations, as well as some possible ways to deal with disturbances. For more detail about the laws regarding noise regulations, refer to the Fife Municipal Code (FMCs) and the Washington State Revised Code (RCWs).