Fairfield’s curfew ordinance was enacted 60 years ago this month, and one city council member wants kids and parents to know it will be enforced.
Fairfield City Councilman Ron D’Epifanio said he’s spoken with other council members, the mayor, police Chief Steve Maynard, and Municipal Court Judge Joyce Campbell about stressing the importance of the city’s curfew ordinance enacted on Aug. 30, 1959.
“We are not having any problems as of yet, but I’d like for us to be proactive instead of reactive,” D’Epifanio said. “We don’t have a bunch of violations, but we want to save a kid’s future before it happens.”
The councilman believes “nothing good can happen on the streets after 11 p.m.,” and said the curfew can prevent a juvenile from getting into trouble beyond violating curfew, adding an arrest record could impact that juvenile if they apply for college.
Maynard said his officers are proactive in enforcing the curfew. Officers are out in the neighborhoods and business areas, keeping an eye out for juveniles 12 years and old who may be out between 11 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. Younger children aren’t allowed to be out without an adult from dusk until dawn.
“If we do find these kids, we’re taking them home. And we’re talking to the parents,” Maynard said.
After an officer brings their child home, many parents address the issue, and those juveniles rarely are out again after curfew.
“Very rarely do we ever charge somebody with a curfew violation,” Maynard said.
The police department recieves more than 33,000 calls for service every year, and from Aug. 1, 2018, to Thursday, there were only 19 incidents related to a curfew investigation, which are adjudicated in Butler County’s juvenile court.
Seven of those 19 incidents involved a juvenile charged with a curfew violation. There were several other incidents were juveniles were given a verbal warning, or had other charged levied against them.
“Unless we have multiple contacts (with juveniles) and they’ve been warned multiple times that they shouldn’t be out after curfew, we generally take them home, talk to their parents and make sure the parents have the understanding we do have a curfew,” Maynard said.
Officers document the conversation, the names of the children and parents, and indicate a warning was issued.
Campbell said her court will “fairly, effectively and efficiently” adjudicate every case that comes before her, but curfew violations relating to parents don’t happen very often.
Since 2014, there were only two cases — one in 2016 and one in 2017 — in which a parent was cited into court, according to court records. Both times involved the same parent, according to records.
Campbell said the city’s long-standing curfew “is probably a good idea for young people.”
“I think there is no reason for young kids to be out running the streets. Nothing good can from of it,” she said. “I don’t think parents exercise enough discipline and control over their children, and then I end up seeing them when they turn 18.”
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