Hometown Headlines added a Twitter survey on the curfew. To see it, click here.
Hometown Headlines has filed an Open Records Request with the city of Rome regarding any and all data shared with city commissioners — in commission meetings and committee meetings — regarding juvenile crime concerns so far this year and any comparison data from recent years. We’ll have updates as that information becomes available.
What’s up: Rome City commissioners passed an ordinance that forbids minors under 17 from being out without expressed purposes between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m by a 6-2 vote on Monday night. A first violation of the ordinance will mean a warning; further violations would mean a trip to municipal court.
City Commissioner Craig McDaniel read the amended ordinance, citing an increase in juvenile violence as well as supervision by parents. He says issues include downtown and other neighborhoods. The ordinance is designed to help public safety and welfare, he says. The curfew, he says, will increase parent supervision. McDaniel then reads any exceptions to the age group. The revision is that the hours have changed to 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. the following day (had been 10 p.m.).
McDaniel make the motion to approve, seconded Mayor Pro Tem Bill Collins.
Commissioner Wendy Davis lead the comments, citing examples where teens would be out later with siblings coming from a movie. She calls it “criminalizing being a teenager.”
Commissioner Sundai Stevenson also questioned the timing, citing what happens to kids coming home late from the Coosa Valley Fair. She earlier had “25 questions” about the ordinance but also thanked the board for moving the time back to 11 p.m. from 10 p.m.
Commissioner Bill Collins says the intent is to “reign in some of the hot spots” around the city.
Davis asks Collins where the ordinance talks about unlawful activities.
Commissioner Milton Slack says local law enforcement does not have a tendency of harassing people; they act when they’re called. As for ordinance, he says the city has to draw the line somewhere. “If you don’t have a law, you can’t enforce it … this is a start. That doesn’t mean we can’t change it.”
- Read the ordinance below
How they voted:
Irmscher: No (“as it stands now.”)
Doss (Mayor): Asked to add his vote as a yes.
AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND THE CODE OF THE CITY OF ROME,
GEORGIA, AND MORE PARTICULARLY, CHAPTER 14, ARTICLE I,
SECTION 14-22; TO REPEAL CONFLICTING ORDINANCES; AND FOR
BE IT ORDAINED by the Rome City Commission, and it is ordained by authority of the same,
Chapter 14, Article I, Section 14-22 of the Code of the City of Rome, Georgia, be amended and
added so that it reads as follows:
Sec. 14-22. Curfew for minors.
(a) Purposes. The Mayor and Commission for the city have determined that there has been
an increase in juvenile violence and crime by persons under the age of seventeen (17) in Rome
resulting in juveniles being involved in a wide range of unacceptable behavior by juveniles; that
persons under the age of seventeen (17) are particularly susceptible by their lack of maturity and
experience to participate in unlawful activity and to be victims of older perpetrators of crime;
that there has been a significant breakdown in the supervision and guidance normally provided
by parents for juveniles resulting in an increase in the crimes, substance abuse, school dropout
rates, juvenile pregnancy, and other illicit behavior. The city has an obligation to provide for the
protection of juveniles from each other and from other persons, for the enforcement of parental
control over and responsibility for children, for the protection of the general public, and for the
reduction of the incidence of juvenile criminal activities that are not easily controlled by existing
laws and ordinances. The Mayor and Commission have determined that a curfew for those under
the age of seventeen (17) will be in the interest of the public health, safety, and general welfare
and will help to attain the foregoing objectives and to diminish the undesirable impact of such
conduct on the citizens of the city and will promote the public good, safety, and welfare. Parental
responsibility for the whereabouts of children is the accepted norm and legal sanction to enforce
such responsibility have had demonstrated effectiveness in many cities. The Mayor and
Commission have determined that a curfew ordinance will increase parental responsibility for
juveniles within their control and decrease juvenile delinquency.
(b) Definitions. For the purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
Adult: Any person twenty-one (21) years of age or older.
Emergency errand: A mission that results from an unforeseen combination of
circumstances that call for immediate action. The term includes, but is not limited to, a
fire, a natural disaster, or automobile accident, or any situation requiring immediate
action to prevent serious bodily injury or loss of life.
Juvenile: Any unemancipated person under the age of seventeen (17).
(c) It is unlawful for any person under the age of seventeen (17), unless said person is
actively supervised by an adult, to be present at, in, or upon the public streets, highways, roads,
sidewalks, alleys, parks, school grounds, playgrounds or other public grounds, public places,
public buildings, malls, cemeteries, public or privately owned places of amusement, eating
places, parking lots, vacant lots or any place unsupervised by an adult having the lawful
authority to be at such places, between the hours of 11:00 p.m. on any day and 5:00 a.m. of the
following day. The provisions of this section shall not apply in the following instances:
(1) When a juvenile is accompanied by his parent, guardian or other adult person twentyone
(21) years of age, or older having the lawful care and custody of the juvenile;
(2) When the juvenile is upon an emergency errand directed by his parent, or guardian or
other adult person twenty-one (21) years of age, or older having the lawful care and
custody of such juvenile;
(3) When the juvenile is returning directly home from a school activity or entertainment,
school-sponsored or school-related sports event, recreational activity, or schoolsanctioned
extra-curricular activities, organized and sanctioned non-school sports,
volunteer work or church affiliated activities;
(4) When the juvenile is returning directly home from lawful employment that makes it
necessary to be in the above-referenced places during the proscribed period of time;
(5) When the juvenile is attending or traveling directly to or from an activity involving
the exercise of First Amendment rights of free speech, freedom of assembly, or free
exercise of religion; or
(6) When the juvenile is engaged in interstate and intrastate vehicular travel through the
city with parental consent.
Any acts made unlawful by the provisions of this section shall be subject to the juvenile code of
this State. Upon violation of this section for the first time, a juvenile shall be given a warning
citation. Upon further violations and conviction, a juvenile shall be subject to such punishment as
the juvenile court may impose. See, e.g., O.C.G.A. §15-11-2(11)(A) (child in need of services).
(d) It shall be unlawful for the parent, guardian or other person having custody or control of
any child under the age of seventeen (17) to permit, or by insufficient control, to allow such child
to be in or upon the public streets or any other places listed in subsection (c) of this section
within the city between the hours of 10:00 p.m. on any day and 5:00 a.m. of the following day,
except in circumstances set out in subsection (c). Upon violation of this section for the first time,
a person shall be given a warning citation. Upon further violations and conviction, a person shall
be subject to such punishment as the municipal court may impose, subject to all limitations
contained in the Charter of the city. Each violation of this section shall constitute a separate
(e) The chief of police shall be required to submit a quarterly report for up to one year after
the effective date of the ordinance from which this section derives to the city Commission to
monitor the continuing need and effectiveness of this section.
BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED that all ordinances, or parts of ordinances in conflict herewith
be, and the same are hereby, repealed.
ADOPTED, this__________ day of ____________, 2018.