Salisbury taking go-slow approach to possible curfew law

Curfew

Salisbury officials are still interested in setting a curfew for minors, but it won’t be implemented anytime soon.

That’s because the city would have to build a holding facility “to keep kids if the parents aren’t around, or if they are irresponsible,”  Jake Day, president of the Salisbury City Council, said this week.

There are only four holding cells at the police department, and a juvenile facility would be preferable, because it would have adult supervision, a recreational area and section where juveniles could study and complete homework.

“We’d have to spend a million dollars, maybe, to build a building, to have somewhere to keep kids. You can’t just arrest them and release them,” Day said.

Also, a detailed study has to be completed.

In March, Police Chief  Barbara Duncan said the curfew city officials were reviewing is based on Baltimore’s. Day said that city  has a facility in place with a staff of 20 or 30 people to manage it and supervise day and night.

“The City Council will come back to it in a while, in May maybe. Then, the study we need might get funded,” Day said.

If council members  eventually adopt a curfew policy modeled on Baltimore’s, it could make it illegal for teenagers to be on the streets after 10 p.m. on school nights, Duncan said.

Curfew times would vary, but, generally, if Salisbury parallels Baltimore’s law, teens 14 to 17 not with an adult would have to be inside from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. on school nights and from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. on weekends.

There are other variations, including summertime, which will be considered and discussed, Duncan said.

If curfew is broken, parents would be held responsible, Duncan said. Parents would be charged with a municipal infraction and ordered to have counseling.

“There seems to be a number of our residents here in the city who believe a curfew would be beneficial for us. We work closely with our citizens here and considering the support for it, we thought it was  important enough to look at it,” Duncan said.

Talk about a curfew began in earnest last year after a man in his 80s, out for a walk in daylight, was attacked by a group of boys riding stolen bicycles.

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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