EAGLE POINT — City Council members are hoping to beef up their curfew ordinance with a hefty fine to discourage teens from loitering downtown or on the bridge over Little Butte Creek.
The council will vote Tuesday whether to impose a $250 citation on juveniles who are found wandering the city without good reason between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The council meets at 7 p.m. at 17 Buchanan Ave., Eagle Point.
Mayor Bob Russell said the fine would provide an additional "tool in the tool belts of police officers" patrolling the area at night.
The existing ordinance, adopted in 2000, sets curfew as between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. State guidelines suggest a midnight to 4 a.m. curfew, which the majority of cities in the Rogue Valley have adopted.
"Kids out at night has always been a problem, doesn't matter where you go," Russell said. "One of the reasons we're doing this is because we need to have a little bit more teeth in dealing with kids that are continually being stopped by police.
"This isn't for the average kid. We have some kids who are continuously out very late at night — and nothing good happens very late at night. So we're wanting a little more of an ability to ... get their attention."
The curfew ordinance states, "No minor should be in or upon any street, highway, park, alley or other public space between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.," unless he or she is accompanied by a parent or engaged in a lawful activity, such as work, a movie or a school function.
Violators are remanded to the Jackson County Juvenile Department. If approved, the added $250 fine will be the responsibility of parents.
Police Chief Vern Thompson was unavailable for comment Monday afternoon.
Around the valley, city curfews run the gamut, from midnight to 4 a.m. in Ashland to 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. in Central Point. Most assess a $100 fine for curfew violations.
Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at firstname.lastname@example.org.