Juvenile curfew gains preliminary approval in Brownwood

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
Juvenile curfiew

A juvenile curfew for Brownwood has received preliminary approval from city council members.

The council approved a curfew for minors under the ages of 17 on first reading Tuesday on a 4-1 vote, with councilman Ed McMillian in opposition. The curfew will require two additional readings before it is finalized.

If the council gives final approval, the curfew will be in effect from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Friday, and 12:01 a.m. to 6 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The curfew will not apply to minors who are: 

* Accompanied by parent or guardian.

* On an errand at the direction of parent or without any detour or stop.

* In a vehicle involved in interstate travel.

* Engaged in a work activity or going to or returning home from work without any detour or stop.

* Involved in an emergency.

* On the sidewalk next to the minor's home or next door neighbor if the neighbor did not complain to police about the minor's presence.

* Attending a school, religious or other recreational activity supervised by adults and sponsored by the city, a civic organization or another similar entity that takes responsibility for the minor.

* Exercising First Amendment rights such as the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech or right of assembly.

* Married or had been married or had disabilities of minority removed in accordance with Texas Family Code.

Violating the curfew will be a Class C misdemeanor and the parent or guardian will carry a fine of $50 to $200, the proposed ordinance states.

Council members first discussed a juvenile curfew on Oct. 12 at the request of councilman Walker Willey.

"This is not about us punishing anybody," Police Chief Ed Kading said. "For me it truly is a public safety matter, about having children out that late at night, for their safety. The main goal is to get these children off the street."

The proposed juvenile curfew ordinance is based on a San Angelo ordinance, Kading told the council.

Mayor Stephen Haynes said he does not support a curfew because he sees it as discriminates based on age and undermines juveniles' confidence in government because they're being singled out for their age. Haynes did not participate in the council's vote.

McMillian said he doesn't think there is a juvenile issue that's severe enough to warrant a curfew. McMillian said he received calls from residents who see a curfew as "overreach."

Councilman H.D. Jones asked if a curfew will help with juvenile issues near Coggin Park. Kading said it will help with Coggin Park and apartment complexes where juveniles have committed vehicle burglaries. "There are problems all day long, but there are considerable problems under the cover of darkness," Kading said.

In other business Tuesday, council members:

* Voted to reject both of the bids received for Phase 1 of the Brownwood Event Center project because the bids exceeded cost expectations. BRW Architects has been asked to modify the bid specifications with cost saving measures and talk with both bidders to identify additional savings.

* Approved the purchase of a new fire engine for $600,000 on a seven-year capital lease. The new engine will replace a 1999 engine.

* Ratified earlier action by the Brownwood Municipal Development District for a $250,000 economic incentive to a business for a build-out at Commerce Square. The business was not named.