Loud No Longer

The Elkhart PD is enforcing noise violations, and officers are no longer as lenient as before.


Tyler Lehner

One of the many new billboards posted around town by the Elkhart Police Department. This one can be seen on Cassopolis street.

Tyler Lehner, Editor-In-Chief

The month is October, it’s hardly 65 degrees outside and you decide to go on a nice drive in the relaxing fall weather. Your windows are down, the wind is blowing lightly through your hair, and you have your music blaring so everyone on the block can hear you. Sounds like the perfect autumn drive, right? Only until those red and blue sirens pull up behind you because they too can hear your music.

This past September, new billboards were put up around town by the Elkhart Police Department that read “KEEPING THE PEACE (AND QUIET) OFFICERS ENFORCE NOISE ORDINANCE FINES STARTING AT $250.” 

Since then, police officers in Elkhart have shown no sympathy to those of us who enjoy having our music up a little loud. They call this infraction a “Noise Ordinance” and as an individual who wholeheartedly supports our police department, it is my honest opinion that pulling someone over for having their music up too loud is completely and utterly absurd. 

Tyler Lehner
Six Massive Audio 12″ subwoofers. This system is considered one of the loudest in Elkhart.

But what exactly is “too loud?” You’d think that the individuals with subwoofers in their trunks would be the targeted group of people, and they are, but you can even get busted for noise ordinance for having your factory door speakers turned up too loud. This means that if you turn your radio knob up loud enough, you’re at risk of getting busted for noise. Just ask Elkhart Memorial senior Daniel Ball.

“I was pulling out of Memorial, and I had my windows down, my sunroof open, and my radio up,” Ball said. “A cop followed me down to the stop sign and pulled me over and said my music was too loud. I didn’t get a ticket since it was my first noise offense, but coming from a person who owns subs and has never gotten pulled over for them, I was pretty aggravated about being pulled over for my factory door speakers.”  

Ball isn’t the only student feeling the wrath of the noise ordinance violations, as senior Eduardo Zamarripa already has several fines for thumping too hard.

Tyler Lehner
Eduardo Zamarripa’s two 15″ old school kicker subwoofers in a ported box.

“I have been pulled over three times for noise violations, and each time, my stereo was barely turned up,” Zamarripa said. “I have spent upwards of about $800 to $1,000 worth of tickets because of my music.” 

$800 to $1,000 worth of tickets is no joke. The billboards posted around town aren’t making it clear that after your first fine of $250, the tickets gradually go up. For your second noise ticket, violators must pay $500. The fines could get as expensive as $2,500 depending on how many noise violations a person acquires.  

Imagine having to spend $2,500 for having your stock door speakers up too loud. 

“Nowadays, brand new cars come equipped with nice stock stereos, some even sound like a real system, so it’s just silly to me that cops can pull you over for having the volume up,” Zamarripa said. 

To those of us who do have subwoofers in our rides, we especially have to be careful with where we blast our music. 

Subwoofers are speakers designed to play low-pitched audio frequencies known as bass. Have you ever sat in a car with a lot of bass? It’s a fun experience, your body vibrates, you feel the bass notes in your chest and throat, and most of the time everyone experiencing the bass loves it (except for the cops, of course). It makes the music sound better and the car ride a lot more fun. Unfortunately for those of us who love subs, the noise ordinance laws make it difficult to enjoy them. 

“I personally feel like the noise ordinance laws are unnecessary,” Zamarripa said. “The music is no harm to anyone. Some people may not like it, but a lot of people love it and just want to jam out. Subs can put you in a good mood and make you feel good, but take it from me when I say that the good mood goes away instantly when you see the red and blue lights flashing behind you.”

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the GENESIS staff. Reach Tyler Lehner at [email protected]