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SLO police to ramp up patrols after complaints over public urination

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Posted at 6:22 PM, Feb 07, 2023

The San Luis Obispo Police Department is cracking down on people who are using public places as their personal bathrooms.

The department offered a warning in the form of a Facebook post, with an officer standing along Garden Alley.

The post warned the public that the alley is not a toilet.

"In a conversation that the police department and some other folks were having with some business owners downtown, we discovered some folks that back up to Garden Alley were experiencing a lot of public urination and a lot of public defecation," said SLO Police Department Neighborhood Outreach Manager Christine Wallace.

The warning came after businesses complained that the alley was being used as a restroom.

"Usually, it is a bit of a war zone back there," said Blackwater owner Erica Hamilton.

"No one wants to come to a business that smells of human waste," said Tails General Manager Erik Purinton.

The local businesses say this is a common occurrence.

"We kind of expect to have to clean something up or call the downtown association," said Hamilton.

"There are places around, but people that don't want to wait in line just see it as an open trough, so to say," said Purinton.

Additional surveillance is expected in the wake of the reports.

"Just two weeks ago, the night bikes have been added back into the mix, so we are able to commit a different level of enforcement with those night bikes and are able to get into the alleys and around streets a lot easier," said Wallace.

Owners say they hope to have a cleaner downtown with the heightened security.

"I think it mostly is a reflection or a byproduct of the bar scene," said Hamilton.

"I’m at the dog store," said Purinton. "If my customers started leaving their dog presence everywhere, people would complain about my store."

While it is generally understood there are not enough restrooms in the area, common decency is requested by the city and local businesses.

"Wait in line, talk to somebody cute in line, and use the bathroom at the bar," said Hamilton.

"All we're asking for is respect and general cleanliness," said Purinton.

"Have some self-awareness and try to meet us halfway," said Wallace.

Fines for public urination can start at $350, with multiple offenses of public urination leading to fines of up to $1,000.