Some Butler County police departments are turning attention back to long-standing laws meant to keep juveniles off the streets, especially during the summer, and prevent possible problems.
Hamilton police reminded residents recently on Facebook about the city’s curfew law and underlined that they intend to enforce that law this summer. Middletown also has a curfew law and encourages officers on regular patrol to enforce it.
Other municipalities and townships in Butler County also have long-standing curfews, including Fairfield, Monroe and Liberty, Hanover and Madison townships.
In Hamilton, the curfew law was passed in 1975. The curfew for minors is 10 p.m. until 6 a.m Sunday through Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, the curfew is in effect from 11:30 p.m. until 6 a.m.
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“Officers will be enforcing the curfew ordinance over the summer break, just as they have during the school year,” Hamilton police said in the Facebook post.
Officer Kristy Collins said minors out after curfew must be with an adult or guardian or out due to an emergency errand or specific business permitted by a parent or guardian.
“If officers locate a juvenile out past curfew, (the juvenile) can be taken to police headquarters and cited for curfew violation. Sometimes, the juvenile is also just taken home and released to his/her parents that is at the officer’s discretion that could depend on if it was their first offense and of they were breaking any laws,” Collins said.
In the past five years, 141 juveniles have been charged with curfew violation in Hamilton.
Middetown also has a long-standing curfew. In the 1990s and early 2000s, both cities had roundups of curfew violators, but staffing issues and some changing philosophy has stopped those practices in recent years.
Curfew hours in Middletown are 11 p.m. through 6 a.m. from Sunday through Thursday and 12:01 a.m. through 6 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. for those younger than 16. For those 16 or 17, hours are 2:01 a.m. until 6 a.m. on Monday through Friday and 1 a.m. until 6 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Middletown Sgt. Cris Kelly said officers are not specifically looking for violators but do stop and question juveniles they see during restricted house.
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“I wouldn’t say we are out there to actively find kids, but if they are walking down the street we are likely going to stop them,” Kelly said. “It is reasonable to think the may be up to something the shouldn’t be doing if they are out at 12 or 3 o’clock in the morning. And really it is also about their safety at that time of the morning.”
Not all juveniles are cited. Some are just taken home, but if they are habitual offenders, they could be cited into Butler County Juvenile court on an unruly charge.
In 2018, 67 juveniles were cited into juvenile court from various areas of the court, according to Rob Clevenger, juvenile court administrator.
If juveniles are adjudicated for the unruly/curfew offense, they can be placed on court monitoring that can include house arrest and community service as well as a monetary sanction, Clevenger said.
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