Safety-oriented ordinances to go before council

By Bonnie Culverhouse

After months of hard work, two public safety-oriented ordinances are ready to be studied by the Minden City Council in workshop, something of which Minden Police Association President Jason Smith and his board are very proud.

“We worked with city attorney Jimbo Yocum on the language of these ordinances, then we had the city judge look over them,” Smith said. “If they are passed – one in particular – will definitely help with crime.”

Smith was speaking of a curfew for juveniles, which he believes will go a long way toward calming violence.

“If you have a kid, 8 or 9 years old out on the streets at 2 a.m., they are up to no good,” Smith said. “If you have one that’s 15 or 16 out on the streets at that time, they are up to no good either.”

The curfew would be for young people under 18 who are on public property or a premises of a public business. Curfew is between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. each day except Fridays and Saturdays. On those days, curfew will be from midnight until 5 a.m.

There are exceptions, Smith said, such as if the juvenile is in the company of a parent or adult person authorized by the parent. If the juvenile is attending a function or activity sponsored by school, church or non-profit, to which the parent or legal guardian has consented, they can stay past curfew.

An emergency situation or specific business authorized by the parent is an exception.

If the ordinance is violated, Minden Police officers may direct the juvenile to go home, escort the juvenile home or take him or her into custody to the police department.

Violations are punishable by fines, and parents or legal guardians may be held to a higher standard, if they allow their children to skip curfew.

There is also a clause for children refusing to attend school.

“Juveniles are responsible for many of the shootings we’ve had recently,” Smith said. “If they are off the streets in the early hours of the morning, the shootings will be fewer.”

The second ordinance, authored by the Minden Police Association, focuses on the use of parks and city-owned property for gatherings, meetings and parades.

If there are more than 25 persons attending, the coordinator must have a permit. They must also have insurance. Curfew on city-owned property – except parks – must be 11 p.m. Park events must end by 9 p.m.

“Both of these are very, very good tools, if we can get them in place,” Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper said, adding, “Minden has needed a curfew ordinance forever, and I believe they will help with the shootings.”

The two ordinances will be presented to the Minden City Council during an upcoming workshop. Both must have council approval to be enforced. It will require a council meeting for a vote.