City council renews juvenile curfew

The Austin City Council is required every three years to reauthorize or repeal a curfew that allows officers to ticket minors for being out late at night or during school hours.

AUSTIN - UPDATE -- The Austin City Council voted to renew the juvenile curfew ordinance Thursday.

The Austin City Council on Thursday is set to either renew or repeal a 27-year-old curfew ordinance.

The ordinance was initially passed in May 1990, and state law requires it be reviewed and readopted every three years. The ordinance was last renewed in May 2014, and there has been support to end the ordinance. Under Chapter 9-3 of the Austin Code, violating the curfew is a class C misdemeanor and police can cite or even arrest violators.

Council member Greg Casar has been one of the strongest voices when it comes to ending the ordinance, saying Latino and African-American youths receive the bulk of the citations. He wants instead to focus on building up youth through positive reinforcement and through programs and involvement rather than police interaction.

Casar added he sees the harm from the curfew, because violators have a harder time finding jobs from the criminal record created from minor offenses.

"I want to do everything possible to not give people criminal records, which keeps them from getting jobs, which makes things less safe for our community. We have a scarce amount of public safety resources, so I'd rather have our police working on other issues rather than ticketing thousands of juveniles for harmless behavior,” he said.

Casar told KVUE he plans to start bringing alternatives to the curfew system to the table, in the form of programs and new approaches to reach kids and better understand what is going on outside of school and in the classroom.

The June 15 Austin City Council meeting will begin at 10 a.m. at City Hall.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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