Community service

Windcrest miners who violate curfew may face community service

Instead of paying a fine, children caught wandering Windcrest at night may soon be required to attend a tutoring program or do community service.

The city council agreed to move forward with an ordinance reinstating a youth curfew with several amendments at the first meeting in May.

Specifically for people under the age of 17, the curfew allows Windcrest Police Department peace officers to arrest, question and request the identification of minors in public between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays while school is in session and between midnight and 6 a.m. every weekday. It is due to expire on Monday.

The ordinance amends the curfew by changing the focus of penalties for violators from “monetary punishment to proactive community-based correction” and pardoning parents of violators.

Specifically, offenders will no longer be considered a Class C misdemeanor and parents of offenders will no longer be subject to penalties even if they knowingly allowed their children to commit the offense, the text says.

According to the Texas Penal Code, Class C misdemeanors “shall be punished with a fine not to exceed $500.” However, offenders will instead be required to complete a predetermined number of hours of community service under the order.

This community service may include participation in a tutoring program, a mentoring program, an alcohol or drug addiction program, or a preparatory class for the proposed Texas high school equivalency exam. by a government entity, nonprofit organization, or educational institution.

Windcrest first adopted a youth curfew in 1994.

Mayor Dan Reese said data negatively correlating the city’s curfew and crime rates has gone “back and forth.” However, Pro Tem Mayor Joan Pedrotti felt the curfew had a purpose.

“If you go out after midnight and you’re 17, 16 or 14, that gives the police the opportunity to stop and say, ‘What are you doing? ‘” Pedrotti said. “It’s an effective tool, and it serves a purpose.”

“Nothing good happens after midnight, especially if you’re underage,” she added.

In addition to Pedrotti, many council members were in favor of the ordinance. They alluded to previous incidents involving minors congregating or partying after hours.

‘I can’t think of any legitimate reason…for a 14-year-old, or a group of 14-year-olds, (to) be walking the streets of Windcrest at two in the morning,’ Councilman Wes Manning said. .

Some council members offered to push back, noting that the order assumed the worst.

Referring to a citizen’s statement made earlier at the council meeting, Councilman Greg Turner said: ‘When we talk about no kids going to check Pawpaw’s computer (at 2 a.m. morning), it is debatable. It just depends.

The ordinance was passed after about 45 minutes of heated discussions between Reese and the council. However, Pedrotti noted that board approval only means the order will be discussed at a public hearing.

“All we’re doing now is saying, ‘Yeah, we want to go ahead and hear what the public has to say about this,'” Pedrotti said.

Reese said the curfew appears to have broad approval among Windcrest residents.

“I didn’t see any citizen who objected to it,” he said. “My feeling is that people see it as a tool that the police can use to make sure everything is fine between midnight and 6 a.m.”

The hearing is scheduled for Monday, the same day the current curfew expires.

At the end of the hearing, the ordinance will again be submitted to the vote of the council. If approved at that time, it will come into effect immediately.

[email protected]