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Loudermilk: Curfew will be enforced

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mark Loudermilk
Thirty years ago, a public service announcement on many television and radio stations asked viewers nightly, "It's 11 o'clock, do you know where your child is?"

Indiana still has a curfew law, and the Brazil City Police Department wants to remind parents they will enforce it.

"Parents need to know where their underage children are," Interim Brazil City Police Chief Mark Loudermilk told The Brazil Times. "It's not only about safety issues, they need to know where their children are at."

According to Loudermilk, some parents are surprised to discover their child, who was supposed to be spending the night with a friend, was not where they should be.

"It's nothing new, but parents should take the time to verify the details and the whereabouts of their children with other adults," Loudermilk said. "If underage children are caught out walking the streets past curfew, we will cite them."

Although Indiana's curfew law has been embroiled in legal battles for years, the Indiana General Assembly continues to uphold and revise it periodically to make sure the law remains constitutional.

The law establishes times when juveniles are not allowed in public places, but leaves it up to the local law enforcement agencies of city governments, municipalities and towns to enforce the curfew.

Indiana Code 31-37-3-2 states that a law enforcement officer can write a citation and/or place a minor child in custody without a legal guardian present who is:

* Age 15 or younger in a public place between 11 p.m.-5 a.m. on any day of the week,

* Age 16 or 17 in a public place between 1-5 a.m., Saturday or Sunday mornings,

* Age 16 or 17 in a public place after 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and

* Age 16 or 17 in a public place before 5 a.m., Monday through Friday.

The code allows for a minor to be out past the designated curfew if participating in, going to or returning from gainful employment, attending a school- or parental-sanctioned event, a religious, government or nonprofit event, involved in an emergency situation or has been legally emancipated.

The curfew times are not flexible. Loudermilk said juveniles should be at home or at the home of a friend designated by their parents when curfew starts, not on the way home.

"Children should be home at or before curfew starts," Loudermilk said. "And parents should know where their children are."

With more and more houses becoming empty due to economic hard times, some teenagers are using them for party spots. Loudermilk said if a resident notices unusual activity at a vacant home they should contact authorities.

"Any strange activity like that should be checked out," Loudermilk said. "It is a safety issue because its unknown what is going on inside and it could be anything, but at the least it is trespassing."

Trespassing is also an issue when teenagers hang out at parking lots owned by local businesses.

Juveniles cited for a curfew violation will cost their parents $100 per the terms of the city ordinance. Punishment for curfew violation could also mean an appearance in juvenile court for allegations of delinquency against the child.

Punishment for violation of the state curfew law is more extensive.

Officials said juveniles cited in violation of the state curfew law are referred to Juvenile Probation and Clay Circuit Court for what is called an "informal adjustment." Juveniles may be placed on an informal type of probation for three months, ordered to serve 8-16 hours of community service and ordered to pay administrative costs of approximately $45 dollars.

"People of all ages should respect business owners' property, especially when it's marked with no trespassing signs," Loudermilk said. "There is a curfew law and the city has an ordinance. If a juvenile is out past curfew, parents need to know and understand we will enforce it."

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Awesome! There are way too many youths running around at all hours of the night. It's things like curfew that will help prevent vandalism, thefts, and even underage drinking.

-- Posted by olmedic on Wed, Jun 23, 2010, at 11:31 PM

Seems like the council voted against the curfew in the past, leaving no curfew to enforce. "The Times" needs to check on it.

-- Posted by smallguysmalltown on Thu, Jun 24, 2010, at 7:13 AM

We have many laws on the books, the trick is to enforce them. I hope the Brazil Police Department will follow thru. We certainly need all the help we can get to make up for the people that either willingly shirk, or are unable to keep up their basic responsibilities as parents or role models.

-- Posted by My opinion counts on Thu, Jun 24, 2010, at 8:43 AM

Chapter 130, concerning curfew for minors, of the City of Brazil Code of Ordinances is still in effect. It was last modified by the City Council in September of 2000. Even if there happened to be no local ordinance, IC 31-37-3 would still be applicable. This is in answer to smallguysmalltown's comment of 6/24/2010.

I won't say that curfew is not a deterrent to some fraction of crime, however, from my experience as a teenager ducking the town marshal to go down to the outside soda machine after curfew to get a soda it can also be seen as a challenge to some teenagers. Also, I think that the majority of young people out late at night may well be 18 or older.

Of course, parents should be aware of where their children are and everyone should respect other people's property by not trespassing on it, as Chief Loudermilk states. Our society has lacked a good, safe gathering place for the 18-20 year old youths that is preferred by some of them since the demise of the drive-in movie. This is not to say that they all wish to engage in some type of mischief but that they may well be looking for a gathering place to associate with their peer group. While some crimes or things that were not approved of by parents happened at the drive-in, I remember standing out and talking to other people my age for hours near the concession stand or the swings just as you can observe young people doing in parking lots today. The difference was that I had paid to use the property and was not trespassing or blocking the business's parking lot.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Thu, Jun 24, 2010, at 9:39 AM

Thank you attorney/politician/mechanic/social worker/cop and the 15 other jobs you've had Leo L. Southworth. Get over yourself.

-- Posted by I. M. Lee Thall, Esq. on Thu, Jun 24, 2010, at 1:06 PM

I think this is a good idea. If the BCPD will really enforce this it may cause some children to not be out running around the streets. However I kinda agree with another post on here in the fact that it might be a test or a game the teens will play to see how far they can go without getting caught. It's just a shame to see some kids out and about running the streets. Regardless of weather they are looking for trouble or not if enforced maybe we will see less crime. Parents get a grip on your children and understand that letting them walk the streets just isn't cool. Good luck parents to control this and good luck the BCPD to enforce this and had out punishment if they break the laws.

-- Posted by Reader11 on Thu, Jun 24, 2010, at 1:19 PM

I posted this once, but for some reason it has disappeared.

I think that enforcing a curfew will work better in our favor as a challenge to parents. I never allowed my daughter out after 9pm, but I think that an enforced curfew would have been much more of an incentive to make sure my child was in.

-- Posted by olmedic on Thu, Jun 24, 2010, at 1:28 PM

Really ! that lee thall is a smart ass and gets a charge out of it whenever he can say something to Mr. Southworth no matter the subject, topic or comment lee thall believes he's the authority and can be rude to whomever he pleases, he is shameful and the one person who wrote to him encouraging his rude remarks you're as much of a pain as thall is.

-- Posted by Ombudsman on Thu, Jun 24, 2010, at 1:33 PM

Freedumb & buddy, try to at least use 6th grade grammar, punctuation & spelling. Then get back to me. As far as Leo L. Southworth, basically all he did was re-post what the Chief said. Now we know where he got two of the half dozen or so votes he received.

-- Posted by I. M. Lee Thall, Esq. on Thu, Jun 24, 2010, at 3:21 PM

Why are we using this posting as a political boxing match.

Lighten up Mr. Thall, Leo has just as much right to post as you do.

Lets just all get along.

-- Posted by heavy on Thu, Jun 24, 2010, at 4:04 PM

If this is enforced great. I for one am in favor of it. I then would like to see about enforcing a noise ordanace.. I have been told that currently there is none. I dont know if there is or not but there should be. One step at a time that is how we have to take things in this town so lets start with the curfew and then move on.

-- Posted by klk_klo on Thu, Jun 24, 2010, at 4:05 PM

I remember being a younger person and liked hanging out in town with my friends. We had no where else to go. Our skating rink was turned into a hardware store, the quality of our movie theater wasn't very good, and any of the little places people opened for a "hang-out" spot would be closed up because of some of the Brazil bad seed kids.

Being a parent now, I hope that things change before my children are the age of "hanging-out". There is nothing to do in this town. If a young person wants to do anything...they have to go to Terre Haute. If the young person isn't quite old enough to drive yet, then a parent has to drive them all the way to Terre Haute and either use more gas by driving all of the way back to Brazil/home or they have to choose to also entertain themselves while there to save on the gas usage.

I do think that it is getting out of control at the number of people who are hanging out in the Kroger parking lot. We used to keep our crowds to a very small (3-4 car) number. They fill it up so much, Kroger looks like they are busy with shoppers on Turkey Day. They have also been having the habit of "trashing" the parking lot as well.

Maybe a great idea would be to use one of the many many many vacant lots we have around this town, turn it into a parking area where these young people can hang out. Just patrol the area to keep down on littering and any other activities that could be going on.

-- Posted by JQuick on Thu, Jun 24, 2010, at 4:08 PM

JQuick: I don't know what years you were hanging out in Brazil, but during the early 90s Krogers parking lot was frequently packed all night long with dozens. That was at the 'old' store. I remember when they upgraded to the 'newer' store (it's probably been 13yrs?) the company and police really started cracking down on kids parking there at night for obvious reasons. I remember one Christmas there were some teens out there that night. It made me think of a really bad after-school special...A Very Kroger Christmas or something like that. BTW, there are things for kids to do other than sit somewhere. Play sports, join the band, get a job, etc... I realize no one wants to hear that. But it bears stating again, and again, and again.

-- Posted by LastSanePerson on Thu, Jun 24, 2010, at 5:31 PM

I just drove through the Forest Park Plaza (it's not just Kroger's storefront that gets trashed), and there is considerable debris from last night's get-together.

So lets understand something here, it is on the front page of the Thursday morning paper, stating how the local law enforcement is going to crack down and enforce the curfew laws. That very same evening, on a lot right along National Avenue that is commonly known as the place to hangout, well it was business as usual.

Yeah sounds like they are serious.

I guess they were too busy enforcing the joke of an ordinance for barking dogs.

I'm all for keeping the peace and controlling the youth, but this town has way too many ordinances! And the ones that make sense, do not get enforced, or selectively enforced anyway.

P.S. I enjoy Leo's posts.

-- Posted by ClayCountyGuy on Fri, Jun 25, 2010, at 7:15 AM

For klk_klo.....the "excessive noise ordinance" is 94.05 EXCESSIVE NOISE and it restricts noise to not being heard from 25 feet away or at the property line, whichever is closest. The "barking dog" ordinance is 93.08 and it restricts "loud and frequent barking" and other "animal noises".

I keep dogs as pets, but they are also my "alarm system". They bark when a car goes down the street slower than normal or stops. They bark when people walk by or they hear something near the home. They sometimes bark when a neighbor's dog barks down the street, but all "alarm systems" give a false alarm at times. They do not call 911 and have the police or fire department roll out to find out if they are needed as do "alarm companies", they leave the calling to my judgment. Of course, if a police officer came to my door, my dogs are going to bark at him as he is strange to him. Frankly, whether or not a dog is "barking in excess" is an opinion, as is whether or not the cries of a baby is disturbing other people in a public place. Some people would complain on the first cry or bark, others would only later. Then there would come a time when it annoyed the owner of the dog or parent of the baby and they would take action.

Many times, an officer will start a conversation concerning noise with the phrase "we have received a complaint". No thought is given to the fact that the complaint is based on an opinion which may or may not be based on fact. If a dog barked a while ago, or did not, would it be proven by the fact that the dog barked when the officer came to the door? I get the feeling that some people have neighbors who just like to complain about everything.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Fri, Jun 25, 2010, at 11:36 AM

People congregate, it's what we do. Some have commented that there are other things to do such as play sports, participate in band, or get a job. Now, the subject came up in response to an article involving a period that starts at 11:00 PM. The parks are closed, most activities that involve our youth are over for the day, and if the people have a job to do at that time of day, they are probably not standing around talking in a parking lot. There just isn't any "designated area" for this to occur, therefore, these young people take advantage of what appears to be the only place available to them to socialize.

Think on this. What would be the response if five or six cars stopped in a residential neighborhood at 11:00 PM, seven or eight young people got out and stood around, just talking, in front of your house. Of course, they could always pick a place out in the country, it's just a long way to go to get a soda if you didn't bring one or to go to the bathroom. Then, as they do not own the property, there could still be a complaint.

If a person opened a parking lot to cater to the youth, there would be complaints. You always have a sub-group that would do something someone would complain about, even if it were revving a car engine or leaving a candy wrapper on the ground.

We are dealing with human nature that is older than the species.

Parents, watch out for your children. The fine is $100 dollars. I'm sure that your younger than 18 year-old son or daughter can find a more enjoyable way to spend $100 if you are inclined to let them than to pay it. That's not saying that you should hand out money, but teenagers do seem to like to eat, love it when they flip a switch and the lights come on, and like to have water on tap.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Fri, Jun 25, 2010, at 12:09 PM

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