Teen curfew will go into effect in August

Teen curfew will go into effect in August

(WMC-TV) - A curfew controversy is brewing in one Mid-South city tonight.

Teens in West Memphis are being asked to go home after 10 p.m. but not everyone is happy about the plan.

West Memphis police say the new curfew will help them deal with kids who have very little supervision at home. It will also help to hold their parents accountable.

Like most teens, 16-year-old Brittany Payne is not happy about the recent passage of a teen curfew in West Memphis.

The curfew will be in effect Sunday through Thursday from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. On Friday and Saturday, the curfew will be from midnight until 5 a.m.

"We really needed some mechanism to deal with the kids that were out really late at night," said West Memphis Police Chief Donald Oakes.

"It's going to be boring most of the time. There's really nothing to do here, so you have to go like to Memphis or something. It's just going to hurt," said Payne.

Under ordinance 2301, any person under the age of 18 years old will be in violation of the curfew if they are found "upon the streets, sidewalks, parks, playgrounds, public places and vacant lots" after the established city curfew.

"I cannot imagine the argument that would say a 15-year-old kid should be on the street at 1 a.m. in the morning," said Chief Oakes.

The curfew also does not allow any minor to "ride in or upon, drive or otherwise operate or be a passenger in any automobile, bicycle or other vehicle in, upon, over or through the streets or other public places" unless they are accompanied by a responsible adult who is at least 21 and older.

"It puts some of the responsibility back on the parent. Not as much as I would have liked but it does put some responsibility back on the parents," said Chief Oakes.

West Memphis Police Chief Donald Oakes says there are a few exceptions to the law, including a 45-minute "grace period" for any minor returning home a school or city sponsored event, or work.

"What if you work in Jonesboro? You got like an hour drive. That's crazy," said Payne.

Meanwhile, any parent or minor who violates the curfew more than three times will be forced to pay a fine of up to $200.

The ordinance will go into effect on August 4.

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