dr martens brogues womens Vice mayor calls for curfew enforcement
ROCK HALL Parents here who don’t know where their kids are after 9 o’clock on a school night may get a knock on the door from a police officer.
At the Rock Hall town council meeting Thursday, Nov. 14, Vice Mayor Brian Jones requested police begin enforcing a curfew. Jones, who works for Kent County Public Schools, said children should be focusing on studying and homework during the school year.
“Now that school’s in session, kids shouldn’t be out late,” he said. “I just want to know if we can start really looking into enforcing it as we go into wintertime.”
Rock Hall Police Chief Steve Moore said the town has a curfew on the books, with a cutoff age of 16. Friday and Saturday.
Police take the children home and, on the first offense, give parents a warning. On subsequent offenses, parents are subject to municipal fines, which are sent to district court if not paid on time.
“It’s all there and it’s all enforceable. It’s up to you guys,” Moore told the council members.
He said it has been a few years, though, since the town enforced the curfew. He said it can be challenging, but the police department will comply with the council’s wishes.
“Be prepared for a lot of appeals when you go down this path,” Moore told the council members. He said they should expect to hear personally from parents requesting leniency.
Moore said sometimes, the children are not concerned about their parents getting stuck with a fine. He said curfew enforcement could strain what are already dysfunctional family situations in some cases.
The chief suggested just giving parents warnings for now. He said the council first may want to wait and see how the situation progresses without the fines.
“There is absolutely nothing to stop us from picking [kids] up and running them home and giving them warnings until we can figure this out more fully. We can implement it whenever you want. We just don’t have to put teeth in it right away if you don’t want,” Moore said.
One woman in the audience said she agreed with the curfew now that it is dark earlier in the evening. A suggestion came from the audience to require youths picked up for curfew violations perform community service.
Town Manager Ron Fithian questioned who would be in charge of administering the community service.
“I think that the liability is too great to put it on the town,” he said.
Councilman Brian Nesspor said the town should keep it simple and follow the curfew ordinance on the books. Jones agreed with enforcing the current curfew during the school year.
Nesspor suggested not worrying about the curfew during the summer. He said it would be a challenge with so many parents and children vacationing in Rock Hall.
“It’s a resort town,” Nesspor said.
Mayor Bob Willis said the ordinance allows for such flexibility in enforcement based on recommendations by a countywide committee that played a role in the drafting of such laws.