West Memphis looks to strengthen teen curfew

(WMC-TV) - Plenty of young people walk the streets of West Memphis in the daytime. But some say far too many are out too late.

"You know I think it's a parenting problem," said parent Elvin Tate. "It's not a children problem."

Tate would not be opposed to parents being punished.

"No," said Tate.

That's exactly what West Memphis city leaders are considering after police requested they strengthen the current curfew law.

"It was written in a day when you took the child home to his mother and that was all the punishment you needed," said WMPD Chief Donald Oakes. "Now there needs to be a little more intervention," he added.

The curfew would remain 10:00 during the week and midnight on the weekends. But police believe offenders should now end up in front a juvenile judge and their parents possibly cited after the third offense.

"As a parent, my feeling is you're responsible for your child, under 18," said West Memphis councilman Taz Tyrone.

He's in favor of putting more teeth in the curfew law. However, six out of 10 city council members must agree.

"I think everybody is in favor of it," said Tyrone. "The decision right now is what are going to be the penalties."

"But there's very little excuse for the 16 year-old standing on the street corner at 12:30 or 1:00 at night," said Chief Oakes. "That's nothing but asking for trouble and we want them to go home."

He and others also want to address, if necessary, any potential problems with their parents.

The city council will discuss new curfew rules during its June 28th meeting.

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