The Juvenile Curfew that has been floated around as of recently as a way to potentially alleviate some of the number of juveniles involved in recent crimes saw faced some rocky waters when discussed during the last city council workshop that took place Thursday, where it seemed as though not all members of the city council were sold on its effectiveness.
The key takeaway is that it could drastically reduce crime and cost us absolutely nothing,” said Jason Smith, Minden Police Association President.
The MPA wanted to make the point that this ordinance, rather than being a tool to stick people with fines, would simply give them the teeth necessary to legally intervene if they see a child or teen wandering the streets.
“We just want children to be home safe. So with this ordinance, we can say, hey let’s go home, put them in our car, take them home, and have a lawful reason to do it,” said Lt. Joel Kendrick
“People ending up in the court system is going to e the exception, not the rule. The true story behind this is we need some way, once we find these kids, to take these kdis home. Right now if they’re walking the streets, we tell them to go home, they won’t, and we take them in our car and take them home, we have kidnapped that child. Because we had no lawful reason to take them where they were and take them somewhere else.”
Some points of contention were raised regarding what would happen in extreme cases. Ultimately the scenarios expressed played out in one of two ways. Either the child is will not listen to the parent, or the parent is apathetic towards their children being out late and give them permission.
In the first case, the child would be considered “ungovernable” which would keep the parent from being fined but would involve that parent actively stating the child won’t listen. In the ladder, the case is where some tensions flared during the discussion, with one public citizen voicing concerns over the police being governed by their own discretion in these cases.
It sounds like you’re going to violate a bunch of civil rights. You’re telling the parent how to parent. This is still going to be America. If I choose to let my children roam the city streets of Minden, that should be my choice. You can’t legislate morality,” said Miles. “If I’m different thank you and think differently than you, you can’t impose what you think is right upon my household.”
Granted, when asked if he had read the ordinance, Miles stated he had not, but that did not stop him from having strong feelings regarding the curfew and its passing.
“The point still remains, the implementation is going to be up to your discretion. I’ve heard that word use, it’s going to be an officer’s discretion. As I said, I’m not so sure that I’m confident enough to give you that authority,” said Miles. “When I see the president of the Minden Police Association not show any restraint in a public meeting, no I don’t have any confidence. If he is a spokesman for the Minden Police Association, and his behavior is such, that’s not exemplary sir.”
Councilman Micahel Roy and Pam Bloxom openly stated approval for the ordinance, with Councilmen Wayne Edwards, Terika Williams-Walker, and Vincen Bradford not necessarily opposed or for it in its current state. They were asked to suggest any changes they would like to see in the ordinance to be discussed in a future meeting.