City to begin curfew sweeps
By Joe Gorman
If you’re under 18 and on the streets starting tonight, police will want to have a talk with you – and your parents.
The city announced Thursday officers will begin a series of curfew sweeps that began Thursday night, where extra officers, with help from the Mahoning County Juvenile Probation Office, will be out looking for violators of the city’s curfew ordinance.
The ordinance says that teens under 18 must not be outside after 11 p.m. Exceptions are made for work or other events.
Chief Robin Lees said the sweeps are a way officers can address problems before they start by getting young people off the streets who are not allowed to be there.
Lees also said parents can be cited if their children are in violation of the ordinance.
The police department is teaming up with the city’s Community Initiative To Reduce Violence on the sweeps in an effort to see if any of the children who are picked up come from families that may need assistance.
Guy Burney, CIRV director, said he will be talking to parents in those cases to see if there is anything they need.
Citations will not be issued in all cases, but Lees said if they are, he wants the courts to handle the matter because they can often either offer or order certain programs that families may need.
The citation is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail.
Mayor Jamael Tito Brown said the key issue with the sweeps is youth safety.
“We’ll be out to make sure you are in the house at an appropriate time,” Brown said.
Lees said there will be seven more sweeps this summer but none of them will be announced. He said patrol officers can issue curfew citations, but with the sweeps, he can put extra officers into an area of the city where youths may be congregating in numbers after 11 p.m.