Commissioners considering curfew

Special to the NEWS

City leaders were faced with the option to reinstate a curfew earlier this week, and while the motion was meant to be a quick one, it appears further deliberation on the matter will be held.

At a city commission meeting hosted on Tuesday, August 20, agenda number nine read, “Consider first reading of Ordinance Number 2565, ‘A curfew ordinance for minors, regulating the use of streets and other public areas during nocturnal hours and providing a penalty for violation of this ordinance.’”

According to assistant city manager and interim police chief Fred Bell, who presented the “Curfew Ordinance” unto the commission, the policy was first adopted in 1996 and has been used by previous commissions since.

Commissioner Tony Gonzalez was the first to ask what hours the curfew would fall into.

Sunday through Thursday the curfew would run from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. On weekends, Friday and Saturday, it would run from 11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Bell also alerted the commission that the ordinance had expired and believes every commission deserves the option to use it or not, expressing that its use is scarce and that law enforcement does not solely rely on it.

“It’s been rarely, rarely utilized. Law enforcement has other tools if there’s concern,” said Bell in response to an inquisitive Commissioner Rene Villafranco, whose concern regarded graffiti around town.

“Another time we put this on the table, we had a spray painting problem throughout the city,” said Villafranco. City manager Manuel De La Rosa responded, “Curfew ordinances really are for communities in which you don’t see anybody out there and you wanna identify them, and it’s a good probable cause.”

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