Austin's overnight curfew may soon come to an end after Police Chief Brian Manley testified that he thinks the curfew unnecessary.
Manley once supported the curfew for minors but says as his department moves toward more and more evidence-based policing, he changed his mind.
City Council reviewed the curfew in June, forming a work group and changing the overnight curfew to only cite an offender after two warnings.
Since that time, 11 kids were picked up and taken home to their parents.
Analysis of the first five showed police stopped the kids for other violations.
At a meeting of the Public Safety Commission on Tuesday, Chief Manley said, "My position on this from the very beginning is that it was an excellent tool for our officers to use to ensure the safety of our youth that may be out at night in violation of our curfew. But again focusing on our data, focusing on what's actually happening on our streets, the officers have other reasons that they can actually intercede in these cases."
"Young people who are charged with these offenses have to go through a very difficult court process," said Morgan Craven, Director of the School to Prison Pipeline project. "They could face fines of up to $500 for this Class C misdemeanor. Their cases are heard in adult criminal court where there's no guaranteed representation and they could have a criminal record at the end of it that impacts their ability to get a job, enlist in the military or apply for college."
Craven works for Texas Appleseed, a public interest justice center.
She believes APD should implement more youth focused training, and that the city should increase the places where young people can go and feel safe to keep them out of harm's way.
Chief Manley plans to suggest that city council drop the curfew at their meeting on Sept. 28, with the promise that if juvenile victimization or juvenile crime increases, that the city will revisit it.
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