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By Henrietta J. Burroughs                        Follow East Palo Alto Today on
East Palo Alto Today                     Facebook    Twitter         Blog    
Thursday, May 30, 2013                   
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The East Palo Alto Police Department issued a release today stating that it is enforcing a special curfew for young people under the age of 18 that will take effect tonight, May 30, 2013. The curfew runs from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

All youth who are on the streets during these hours will be detained and transported to a designated location where “their parent(s) and/or guardian will be summoned to meet with the police officials and counselors from the East Palo Alto Youth Court.”

The ordinance establishing a curfew for young people in East Palo Alto was originally adopted by the East Palo Alto City Council in 1993.

Officer Veronica Barries, who is with the East Palo Alto Police Department, said that the curfew ordinance is being reinforced tonight as part of the police department's crime emergency measures that were enacted this month to deal with the city's current spike in gun violence. (See the EPA Today article about the 'Crime Emergency' declaration that was enacted for East Palo Alto here.).

Read the rest of the police department's release regarding the curfew below:

"Youth detained for curfew violations will be provided an opportunity to participate in the Youth Court program and receive program and counseling services rather than a citation and entry into the juvenile criminal justice system.

The goal in enforcing this curfew is not to incarcerate our youth – it is to protect them and help create an environment that is conducive to their growth and development. According to Chief Davis:

The enforcement of the curfew ordinance and our partnership with the East Palo Alto Youth Court allows the community to connect at-risk youth and their families to support services within the community.

Youth Court

The East Palo Alto Youth Court partners with the police and the local schools to provide a community-based diversion program for young people who have committed minor offenses. The program allows the offender to make amends for the harm done and constructively contribute to the community through positive peer influence and adult assistance. Youth Courts is staffed by youth who serve in various capacities within the program, acting in the role of jurors, advocates, bailiffs and clerks.

To learn more about Youth Court: http://www.epayouthcourt.org/Main.html

Curfew Ordinance

Municipal Code Section 9.20, Provisions for Minors, establishes a curfew of 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for persons under the age of 18. Specifically, Municipal Code Section 9.20.030 (A) and (B) states:

A. “It shall be unlawful for a minor to remain in any public place within the City during curfew hours, except as provided in this ordinance.”

B. “It shall be unlawful for a parent or guardian of a minor to knowingly permit, or by insufficient control allow, the minor to remain in any public place within the City during curfew hours.”

The penalty for curfew violation is:
A fine not to exceed $250 for the first offense.
A fine not to exceed $500 or imprisonment not to exceed 6 months (or both) for the second offense."

 

Henrietta J. Burroughs, the author of this article can be contacted by email at epatoday@epatoday.org.