MASSENA - Police Chief Timmy J. Curriers proposed nightly curfew could become village law in a few weeks.
The villages Board of Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday night to establish a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 18 to consider the curfew. The board may vote to approve the curfew after the hearing.
The law would require children under 16 years old to be off the streets from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. The village has had a curfew law on its books since 1969, but stopped enforcing it in 1993 because of questions over its constitutionality. Parents, for example, cannot be arrested for having children who violate the curfew if they were unaware the youngster left the house.
Mr. Currier previously said the revised law addresses those constitutionality concerns and will hopefully help deter juvenile crime in the village.
Trustee Patricia K. Trish Wilson had previously suggested amending Mr. Curriers proposal, allowing greater leeway on the curfew on weekends and for older children.
But Mr. Curriers proposal will end up staying intact, Mayor James F. Hidy said Tuesday night.
If we keep it just like we did back in the day, youre going to hear a lot of good things from the people out there, Mr. Hidy said.
The village is still working out details on curfew penalties, Mr. Hidy said. Possible punishments include 20 hours of community service for repeat offenders. Parents of children violating the curfew could be charged fines up to $50 for the first violation, $100 for the second and $250 thereafter or serve up to 15 days in jail, perform community service or a combination of the three.
Mr. Currier previously said the penalties would be a worst-case scenario for curfew violators. In most cases, police would simply use the curfew as a reminder to children to remain indoors at night.
The village must still determine how it will administer the community service punishment, Mr. Hidy said. Officials decided to push forward with the public hearing and planned to work out the final details in the coming weeks.
Its just a matter of working on those mechanisms, Mr. Hidy said.
Mr. Hidy jokingly pictured himself as the town crier enforcing the curfew.
Here ye Here ye, all off the streets, Mr. Hidy quipped.
Youre going to walk through downtown with the bell, Trustee Patricia K. Trish Wilson told him.
At the end of the meeting, resident Thomas E. Macaulay praised the effort to reinstate the curfew.
We, as a society, have got to make parenting easier and the curfew will do that, he said. It will help our young people raise our kids into prosperous citizens.