• 84°

City plans stronger enforcement of existing juvenile curfew laws

The Bogalusa Police Department will be stepping up its enforcement of existing juvenile curfew laws this summer, according to Danielle Keys, president of the Bogalusa City Council.

Keys, who represents District B on the council, said during the council’s meeting Tuesday that an increase in violence — particularly among juveniles — has sparked the re-focus on the existing laws.

The curfew law is present in Section 11-52 of the municipal code and states the following:

“Unless accompanied by his custodian, it shall be unlawful for any minor, whether on foot or in a vehicle, to wander without destination or to travel, loiter, stroll, play, traverse or remain in or upon any public street, road, highway, avenue, alley, park or public place between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., beginning Sunday through Thursday nights lasting into the next morning; and between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Saturday or Sunday mornings or on mornings of legal holidays.”

The lone restriction is for New Year’s Day — that curfew is 1 a.m.

The ordinance further states: “This restriction shall not apply to any minor who is engaged in an emergency mission, nor shall it apply to any minor who needs to remain in public to perform a reasonable errand. Nor shall the provisions of the article apply to any minor when said minor is in attendance or in route to and from any officially sponsored church, school, or civic event.”

Enforcement of the ordinance is twofold. If a police officer reasonably believes that a minor is violating the law, the officer shall advise the minor that he is in violation of the curfew and shall require the minor to give his complete name and address, and how to contact his custodian. The officer shall then notify the custodian immediately and advise them to come to police headquarters to accept release of the minor.

If the minor refuses to obey these directions, or has been subjected to a prior curfew violation, the officer shall then take the minor to a juvenile holding center. The center will then contact the minor’s custodian to come accept his release.

Any custodian who violates the terms of the ordinance can be fined between $25 and $100 for a first offense. Any second or subsequent offence can result in a fine of between $50 and $200.

“As you all may be well aware of, we had a lot of recent incidents of teen shootings and teen violence,” Keys said. “I met with (Police Chief Kendall Bullen), who in turn met with the majors, and I wanted to let the public know that they will be enforcing the teen curfew law that we have in effect. That’s for those that are 17 and under.”

Keys also said that ADAPT and other local organizations are working on future programs and events to help curb teen violence in the community.