Montgomery County Council Split about Imposing Curfew on Teens

6:26 PM, Sep 15, 2011   |    comments
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ROCKVILLE, Md. (WUSA) -- The controversial issue of imposing a curfew on teens in Montgomery County attracted all nine members of the Council to attend what was intended to be a three-member work session for the Council's public safety committee.

After hours of discussion about banning kids under 18 in public places starting at midnight on weekends and 11 p.m. during the week, council members were still divided.  

Nancy Floreen, Councilmember At-Large strongly supports the curfew, proposed by County Executive Isaiah Leggett.  

"Ultimately, what we want to make sure is that we have a safe community for our residents. The curfew that has been proposed is the kind of family curfew we all should have in place," she said.  

Opponents include Phil Andrews, Chair of the Public Safety Committee.  There is a concern over profiling since police officers would use discretion in making exceptions for young people involved in extra-curriculur activities or jobs.  

"I don't think the proposal is out of line," said Floreen in response to those stated concerns.  "And I do think when we put our trust int he public safety officers to make the right call. "

The three member safety committee will hold another work session after members review current laws in place. They want to look at whether a Loitering regulation may solve the problem before County Council imposes a new law.  

Meanwhile, Leggett has been reaching out to other jurisdictions with curfews in place such as the District of Columbia and Prince George's County.  A spokesman with the Executive Office tells 9NEWS NOW there is a genuine concern that many of the problems regarding youth stem from those neighboring areas .  Teens who are banned from public spaces in other cities travel to Silver Spring and other Montgomery County cities to hang out. 

If the law is passed, first offenders would be fined $100. 

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