In response to a recent confrontation between teens at a party in Caddo Valley and some uninvited guests which fueled a social media frenzy, Caddo Valley has a new temporary night curfew
By LESLIE R. KENT | arkadelphian.com
CADDO VALLEY, Arkansas — When the social media posts began to include the possibility of school violence the Arkadelphia School District activated metal detectors at the high school the following morning as a precaution. Local law enforcement leaders have stressed all along that there is not and was never any credible evidence to support the social media claims.
After Mayor Joe Jackson’s prayer for safety and harmony in the community at a special-called city council meeting on Friday afternoon, the council passed a curfew for juveniles under the age of 18. The curfew was requested by Caddo Valley Police Chief Ashley Collier, who described it as “another tool we will have if we need it.” The curfew will expire on January 2, 2024, unless extended by the city council.
Caddo Valley city attorney Madeline Bennington, who wrote the ordinance, summarized it for the council and answered the few questions asked by the four council members in attendance. In an interview with arkadelphian.com after the meeting, Bennington said she had researched numerous other similar ordinances in the process. She described the temporary ordinance as a fair and reasonable response the situation that should not impose a burden on parents.
The curfew, which is effective immediately, will be in effect from 10:30 p.m. through 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. through 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. The first time a violation occurs the offender will be given a written warning and ordered to go home. The parent(s) or legal guardian will be mailed a certified notice of the violation and a details regarding their parental responsibilities and the possibility of a $50 fine for the next violation which will be considered the first violation if found guilty. Since the offense is committed by a juvenile, any fines or other possible charges will be issued to the parent(s) or legal guardian.
After being found guilty once the parent(s) or legal guardian’s fine will increase by $25 if found guilty on a second and third violation. Any juvenile who violates the provisions of the ordinance more than three times shall be reported by the Chief of Police to juvenile authorities as a juvenile in need of supervision.
One of the key definitions in the ordinance is the definition of “public place” which will be any place the public or a substantial group of the public has access and including but not limited to streets, sidewalks, rights of way, parking lots, parks, playgrounds, restaurants, shops that are open to the use of the public.
The curfew ordinance defines “Juvenile” as any un-emancipated, unmarried person under the age of 18. “Parent or guardian” has several descriptions including (1) a person who is a juvenile’s biological or adoptive parent and who has legal or physical custody of that juvenile, and may include both parent, if custody is shared under a court order or agreement; (2) A step-parent; (3) a person who has been judicially appointed as the legal guardian of the juvenile; (4) a person 18 years of age or older standing in loco parentis for the person to assume the or physical custody of the juvenile.
One notable exception to the curfew is that when a juvenile is, with parental consent, engaged in normal interstate of intrastate travel through the city or originating or terminating in the city. There are a total of eight exceptions to the ordinance that cover juveniles at church or work or on an errand for their parent(s) or legal guardian and have a permission note.