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Middleborough Police Chief Proposes $20 Fine For Swearing

MIDDLEBOROUGH (CBS) – Public swearing is so bad in Middleborough that they're considering a plan to start enforcing a longstanding but rarely-used law.

Folks in town have had enough of kids and some adults who think it's OK to drop high-volume obscenities in their otherwise bucolic downtown.

"It's intimidating to my customers," says business owner Paulette Lilla, "to the people who are out here downtown, and I think it's a good thing that they're doing something to try to curb it."

Former Middleborough Selectwoman Mimi Duphily says, "I don't think it will solve the problem but it will make them understand what is acceptable behavior and what is not."

The town's police chief has proposed to give $20 tickets to vulgar loudmouths as a deterrent to downtown air pollution.

"We have a lot more important things to do," says Chief Bruce Gates, "but these are things that are quality of life issues, community policing issues that a lot of people don't want to see downtown."

The chief will make his case for a more easily enforceable system of fines for public cursing before Town Meeting in June.

If you think a $20 ticket for swearing seems stiff, consider the fine some townspeople told me they'd prefer to see levied: $100 per curse.

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