11/03/05 — Faison town board to consider curfew for older youths

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Faison town board to consider curfew for older youths

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on November 3, 2005 1:47 PM

FAISON -- Parents are being invited to talk to the Faison Town Board on Dec. 7 about a 10 p.m. curfew for those younger than 18.

The town board voted unanimously Wednesday night to hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. before its regular monthly meeting Dec. 7 at the town hall. The public hearing was set to hear comments about a curfew that would prohibit those under 18 from being out after 10 p.m., unless they are involved with planned and supervised activities.

Police Chief Danny Brock said he and officer Chris Johnson take turns patrolling the town nights, and if there is an arrest, that means a trip to Kenansville and Faison left without police protection for several hours.

Brock said most parents he talks to say they don't have any trouble with their children, "and they let them run till 2 a.m. And have to go to school? That's not good parenting."

The town already has a curfew for those under age 16. But Brock said those over 16 sit out on the streets "real smug, saying, 'I don't have to go in.' They're hanging around. They get bored. They know there's only one place we're working at a time."

Parents need to be responsible for their children, said Brock. He said one officer can't keep an eye on all the young people wandering around town at late hours. He said he and Johnson have found youth gang graffiti written on picnic tables at the town's park. He said the department has made an arrest in connection with the graffiti.

Town commissioners agreed to hold the public hearing, although some doubted anybody would come, even if they agree with the curfew idea.

Town commissioner Jane Hollingsworth, who made the motion to hold the hearing, asked if the town could expect parents to attend a public hearing if they're already not supervising their youngsters.

Even the town attorney, Garrett Ludlum, had mixed emotions about the curfew.

"Even children have constitutional rights, especially those who are 17 plus 364 days old who are on the streets of Baghdad and can't be on the streets of Faison," Ludlum said. "But I sympathize with Danny and Chris who are having to confront these kids and be smart-mouthed."

He said he understands the two-man police department's problem watching over the town in the middle of the night when youths are hanging out on the street corners and in the park, which is closed after dark.