According to the city’s curfew ordinance, juveniles, or people under the age of 18, are in violation if they are in a public place after 9:30 p.m., although there are several exceptions noted. Some exceptions include going to or from work, attending sporting or educational events, or if the person is accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Bryant said the curfew has been on the books for as long as he can remember, and while he doesn’t want people to think they can’t attend ball games or church services in the evening, he says it can help prevent incidents in which minors could become victims or perpetrators of a crime.
“We don’t want to restrict kids from doing any of that stuff, but we don’t want them out being in a potential to get into trouble, or to get injured, or to become a victim,” he said.
Bryant added that recent incidents involving juveniles have led authorities to inform the public that the police will be enforcing the curfew in the hopes that it could prevent similar incidents in the future.
“We just want the public to know that we are going to enforce (the curfew), basically because of some incidents recently involving juveniles, some of them as victims and some of them as the accused,” he said.
If a juvenile is found to be violating the ordinance, Bryant said an officer will transport the minor to the police department and contact the parents.
“The parents definitely need to know where their children are at after 9:30,” he said.
According to the ordinance, the maximum penalty for violating the curfew is a misdemeanor and carries a fine of no more than $250 or imprisonment of no more than 90 days, or both.
In addition to stepping up enforcement on the city’s curfew, Bryant added that his department will also be focusing on underage drinking as the area’s proms and graduations get closer on the calendar.
“We’re going to enforce the underage drinking (law), and we are going to charge anyone that provides alcohol to underage drinkers,” he said.