Tuesday, September 15, 2009  
   Volume 79 - Issue 37 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“If the machine doesn’t run, the ski hill doesn’t open.”
- Dave Morrison  
- Powderkeg Ski Hill Manager 

 

 
Council is considering its options when it comes to the possibility of imposing a curfew on local youth, as an effort to reduce vandalism in the community.
On Tuesday, September 8, at its Committee of the Whole meeting, council spoke with Sergeant Roxane Baalim of the Pincher Creek detachment and local Sergeant Scott Howard about how curfew works in Pincher Creek and how it could work here.
Pincher Creek has had a curfew bylaw in place since 1999. Sergeant Baalim went through the basics of the bylaw and how it is used in that community.
The Pincher Creek curfew bylaw, said Sergeant Baalim, defines a child as anyone 15 years of age and under. Children are not allowed in public places between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., unless they have proper adult guardianship or have a legitimate excuse.
Legitimate excuses, she said, include travelling directly to or from a job, a volunteer position, an organized sport, or another organized activity supervised by adults.
If a child is found by a peace officer, said Sergeant Baalim, and does not have a legitimate excuse, the child may be warned to go home. If the child refuses, the officer can take the child home. There is no arrest offence involved, she said, but either the child or a guardian can potentially be fined.
She noted that in her four years at the detachment, a few parents had been fined after repeated attempts to gain compliance, but no children had been fined.
Councillor David Cole asked what effect the bylaw has had, and whether or not it acts as a deterrent to youth crime.
 
Sergeant Baalim said that the curfew gives officers a reason to stop and speak with youth, and gives parents a tool to help reign in their children. But she also noted that vandalism in Pincher Creek is largely caused by young adults when the bars close, and that the curfew does not apply to them.
Sergeant Howard said that he sees a curfew as a tool that officers would have available, but added that officers would not be out actively looking for children to take home. Any time spent on it would be determined on a priority basis, he said.
He cautioned council against seeing a curfew as a solution to every vandalism problem. As in Pincher Creek, he said, a lot of property damage in the Pass is caused after the bars close, or by children over the age of 15.
“It’s a slippery slope to attribute all of what’s going on to a particular segment of the population,” he said. “But it’s one more tool in the toolbox.”
Councillor Dean Ward asked if 15 is the proper age for such a bylaw.
Sergeant Howard said that it’s harder to justify for youth 16 to 18, because they are able to drive. Children under the age of 15 usually don’t have a good reason to be out during curfew hours anyway, he said, but it’s harder to say for older children.
If council considered such a bylaw, he suggested adding an arrest provision so that youth would have to provide their name and address to the police. He said that he would be hesitant transporting youths in a police vehicle without arresting them.
Sergeant Howard also noted that since a curfew bylaw would apply to the entire municipality, it could be helpful in keeping younger children away from bush parties.
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   Volume 79 - Issue 37 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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