MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — The city of Murfreesboro’s vice mayor is concerned their new public decency ordinance has some “unintended consequences” because the police chief and city manager are tasked with its enforcement.

“Is our police chief and our city manager capable of making I mean…this is not a knock on (city manager) Craig (Tindall). It’s what are we asking these people to discern…to have the capacity to make that decision,” Murfreesboro Vice Mayor Bill Shacklett asked before the council took their second and final vote on the ordinance.

The ordinance “promotes public decency, maintains family-friendly environments in public places, and protects against harm to minors,” according to the first page of the document.

The ordinance also bars “persons who engage in prohibited conduct from sponsoring events on a public space for two years and increasing to five years.”

Mayor Shane McFarland said this means that if a sponsored group is found to have done something indecent or prurient where children can see, they can potentially be barred from putting on events in the future.

He said that despite criticism of the ordinance, the intent was to close gaps in existing city code.

“I think any person has the right to assemble on public property; I think that’s our constitutional right,” McFarland said. “I think where that veers off a little bit is what happens when someone has an event on public property that goes beyond the bounds of public decency, or they violate our protocol.”

Shacklett’s concern is the ordinance goes too far in meeting these objectives.

During a city meeting, he pointed to a line in the ordinance that said any violators of it are subject to “civil or criminal penalties.”

He also was concerned the ordinance includes “printed materials” in public spaces, like libraries.

“With this in place, how are children safer? That’s my point,” Shacklett said. “We all were concerned about an event that occurred at a particular place, and we felt there was a hole in our ordinances that needed to be addressed, and we decided to leak into another concern.”

However, McFarland said this is not about targeting libraries, which still have their own governing board, or any specific group.

“I don’t think you’re going to have police that are going down the street that are like looking on, determinate and determining what they think is indecent behavior,” he said. “For example, there’s a male that’s in the women’s locker room, and he’s doing something that they shouldn’t be doing…that person absolutely has the right, the police officer, to make the determination, ‘that’s indecent, I’m taking care of that.'”

When asked if it was appropriate for the police chief or city manager to be the deciders of what is decent, he said that they will be responding to acts that would be clearly seen as inappropriate by the majority of Murfreesboro residents.

“I think there is absolutely a higher standard for an event when you categorize event as family friendly. I think whenever you have an event that children are going to be there, there is a higher threshold to make sure that that event is handled in the appropriate way,” he said.

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Yet, while he said as a person of faith he didn’t wish to be on the opposing side of this issue, the vice mayor said his colleague’s arguments for it didn’t convince him this ordinance is what is best for the city.

I mean, the intent of this is to make our children safer, and I’m all for that,” he said. “But I’m not sure this ordinance tomorrow makes us a safer community.”

The ordinance goes into effect July 1 and the mayor encourages people to read it in full before making a judgement.