By Bonnie Culverhouse
The Minden City Council Tuesday decided by a 3-2 vote to postpone a proposed juvenile curfew ordinance.
District A councilman Wayne Edwards moved to amend the original motion to pass the ordinance and postpone it indefinitely.
“I can only speak for myself, and I made my comment quite plain last council meeting,” Edwards said. “What postponing this indefinitely means is that we are not on the same page.”
Edwards said he doesn’t feel the ordinance is enforceable.
“At the last meeting, I said I want to see a full staff in the (police) department, and it be emphasized the areas of the city where we are actually having problems,” he continued. “Once we get that done, I don’t have a problem.”
Edwards’ motion received a second by District B councilwoman Terika Williams-Walker.
“It’s the same for me,” she said.
District C councilman Vincen Bradford said he feels the ordinance “stands on people’s civil rights.”
District D councilman Michael Roy said he feels it’s a “shame we can’t come together to protect the citizens of the city of Minden.”
“It (ordinance) gives the police department the right to approach somebody if they deem necessary,” he continued. “It doesn’t mean they have to, doesn’t mean they won’t. I think it’s a shame we don’t put our people first.”
When Roy referenced Shreveport and Bossier police departments use a similar ordinance, Williams-Walker questioned his information.
“Shreveport is understaffed, too, so how can they enforce it?” she asked. “How effective is it? Other cities are always referenced, but what about the effectiveness of it?”
Bradford said he doesn’t see the point of the ordinance that would require juveniles under 18 to be off the streets by 10 p.m. on week nights and midnight on weekends.
“I don’t see why we need an ordinance for these kids, they’re not doing anything,” Bradford said. “Where are they (police) going to target? They’re going to target the black neighborhoods.”
When asked by Roy how he knows that will happen, Bradford said, “They’re already doing that.”
“They patrol the areas that have crime,” Mayor Terry Gardner said.
“All areas have crime,” Williams-Walker responded. “We need to put something in place that is effective.”
Roy said the size of the city doesn’t matter in the case of the proposed ordinance.
“We should have something in place to protect our people,” Roy said. “It doesn’t matter how many laws are on the books or if we have 3,000 officers to enforce them, there will still be crime. We have to take preventive measures to keep our city safe.”
Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper said since the December council meeting, his officers arrested two juveniles breaking into vehicles after midnight.
At the end of the meeting, Cropper was asked to bring the council statistics about juvenile crime, broken down by districts where the crimes occur.
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