Oxford Police Department backs off pushing through curfew ordinance — for now

Published 5:00 am Friday, October 13, 2017

Last month, Oxford Police Chief Joey East presented a proposed two-part curfew ordinance before the Oxford Board of Aldermen for its first reading.

New or amended ordinances generally go through three readings. At the first meeting, the proposed ordinance is read. At the second reading, held during the next scheduled meeting, there is also a public hearing in conjunction with the reading of the ordinance. The third reading, and a vote, usually take place two weeks later at the following board meeting.

However, more than a month has gone by since the first reading of the curfew ordinance.

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When asked why the ordinance has not come before the aldermen for a second reading and no public hearing has been scheduled, OPD Maj. Jeff McCutchen said the ordinance needed some more work.

“We were asked to do some additional research on the curfew request,” he told the EAGLE recently. “We are building on some data to present in the future.”

The ordinance as proposed in September would have made it unlawful for minors under 17 years old to wander around in public areas, including parks, roads, playgrounds, eating places or other public establishments during the hours of the day when school is in session unless accompanied by a parent, guardian or another adult person.  Other exceptions include work purposes, medical appointments, having permission to leave school for lunch or be absent from school, among other exceptions listed in the ordinance.

The nighttime curfew limits youths from public areas between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless with an adult, for work, running errands directed by parents or guardians, attending an official school or church activity, going home from a sporting event, dance, movie or other place of entertainment or another approved exception.