The Dayton Police Department announced it would enforce and conduct a curfew sweep for minors Friday night after multiple complaints in downtown neighborhoods.
Unaccompanied minors under the age of 18 are not permitted in public areas between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. by City of Dayton arrangement. There are exceptions though – like if a teenager is in their yard or coming home from work.
The curfew has not been enforced for several years, according to Dayton Police Department Lt. John Riegel. But after receiving complaints of damage from graffiti and fights in parks, the department decided to enforce it.
The sweep will focus on downtown, but officers plan to patrol other areas of the city.
Riegel said the department considered other options to deter youth crime. He added that in the past, officers had tried to speak with teenagers, but it hadn’t worked.
“We often brought them home. But there is no responsibility on the side of the parents or whoever is responsible for this minor,” Reigel said. “They [the parent] may not even know that their child or that person was out of the house.
Studies suggest, however, that enforcing juvenile curfews often damages already strained relations between the police and minors.
The police department has also not received training on how to deal with developing youth and adolescents. Reigel said he received up-to-date training on how to interact with different segments of the population.
Earlier this month, the Ohio Police and Community Collaboration Advisory Council established new minimum standards of best practice between police and youth.
As part of the certification process, a police service must train officers on content focused on youth development, de-escalation practices, and the unique needs of certain youth populations.
Lt. Matt Dickey, commanding officer of the Dayton Police Academy and Training Bureau, said in an emailed statement that the department is aware of the effects encounters with law enforcement can have on young people. .
“We will review the new standards and ensure we are in compliance. Our department was one of the first agencies in the state to fully comply with Ohio Collaborative Standards,” Dickey said. “We have updated our policies as needed since then.”
Dickey added that the ministry has also taken steps to address youth. Like revising the policy to make it optional for officers to restrain or handcuff youths if they feel it is safe to do so.
“This was done specifically with the mindset that encounters with law enforcement can harm the mental well-being of young people,” Dickey said. “In general, less restrictive options are always considered when dealing with minors. Most are quoted, summoned or handed over to the parents.
If a minor is picked up on Friday during curfew hours, they will be taken to Central Business District Police Headquarters to be picked up by the parent. The child and parent will also receive a misdemeanor citation.
The parent or guardian will further receive a list of potential resources in hopes of preventing the minor from breaking curfew again, according to a statement.