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Push for fines after Kokomo police say Walmart store draining resources

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KOKOMO, Ind. (April 15, 2016) -- Another Indiana town is expressing frustration with its Walmart store, claiming the business is using too much of its police resources.

Kokomo police say last year officers responded to more than 400 runs to the Walmart store.

"There's a problem," said Major Brian Seldon. "It's a drain on our resources that's for sure."

Now the City Common Council is considering passing an ordinance that would allow the city to fine public nuisance properties like big box stores or apartment complexes that use police resources too often for minor disturbances. The council passed the first reading of the ordinance.

The same issue came up in Beech Grove last year after a video of a brawl between two women inside the store went viral.

Beech Grove Mayor Dennis Buckley said an ordinance didn't change anything for his community. He said the situation only got better when Walmart sat down with Beech Grove leaders and discussed solutions. Afterwards, the store made some big changes like hiring off duty officers and creating a diversion program for shoplifting. Walmart also stopped allowing overnight parking for non-Walmart related reasons and extended the store's fence around the property.

Buckley said Beech Grove police used to respond to about 450 runs during a 90 day period. Now, they only receive 92 during that same period.

Kokomo police said they are open to having a conversation too.

"That's going to be up to corporate to decide that," said Seldon. "But we'll sit down and talk to them and see how we can combat these problems and what's the best avenue going forward.

FOX59 reached out to Walmart for a comment. A spokesman said no one with the city of Kokomo or its police department had reached out to Walmart headquarters.

A statement sent Friday afternoon reads:

"As one of the largest employers in Kokomo, we are proud to pay taxes, provide hundreds of jobs, donate to local charities, and of course serve our customers.  We certainly look forward for an opportunity to discuss this matter with community officials so we can collaborate to find common ground."

The next council meeting happen on April 25.

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