TALENT — Minors would face a longer curfew if the City Council passes a revised ordinance when it meets June 20.
Parent Joi Riley raised the topic of curfews with Mayor Bill Cecil after reviewing a pamphlet on drug use that listed curfew hours for other cities but didn't mention Talent.
The city's existing curfew law was adopted in 2002. Under the ordinance, minors cannot be in public places such as streets, highways, alleys and parks between midnight and 4 a.m.
"Midnight seemed really late to me," said Cecil. "I thought maybe we should bring it to the council."
Riley also suggested in an email to Cecil that an earlier start to curfew be considered. But the council recently directed city staff to draft changes to the ordinance to extend the curfew until 5 a.m. and leave the existing start time.
Curfew hours vary by city in the Rogue Valley. Ashland, Medford and Phoenix have midnight to 4 a.m. curfews. In Central Point and Eagle Point, curfew is from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Councilwomen Teresa Cooke, Diane Glendenning and Councilman E.J. McManus said they favored a midnight to 5 a.m. time period.
Police Chief Mike Moran said he'd like to see an 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew.
"Curfew offers the Police Department more contact with that population," Moran said. "Another reason for curfew is to keep kids from being victims."
Moran described the city ordinance as "powerful" because it allows police to cite parents of offenders. There is a potential $500 fine for violators.
Juvenile court won't deal with curfew violations unless the accused has been involved in other offenses, said Moran. Violators could be cited, he added.
Graffiti is the most common potential crime that young people might commit when breaking curfew, said Moran. Other problems include car break-ins, theft, knocking over garbage cans, noise and doorbell ringing.
A longer curfew might have helped in a situation last year where police encountered juveniles at 4:30 a.m. after they apparently had been out all night, said Moran. The juveniles later were tied to criminal mischief.
Minors going to or from school activities, jobs or other lawful activities are not subject to the ordinance.
Riley said she has noticed young people out late.
"I live pretty far from the center of town," said Riley. "When I do go to downtown Talent, and kids are out running around, it always kind of surprises me. I do see a lot of kids running around."
One incident sticks in her mind.
"One time a year ago or so, I saw some young kids who were drunk, and one was puking in a parking lot," said Riley. "It's not like I'm seeing that all the time. That was rare and disgusting."
"Fundamentally, parents are the ones who should be enforcing curfews," said Councilman Chris Auer. "It's more of a parental issue."
Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at email@example.com.