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BREA | Community News Focus

Officials Start Drafting Daytime Curfew Ordinance

June 13, 1996|JOHN POPE

Taking an early lead in a countywide effort to curb truancy, the city's police and school district officials have begun drafting a daytime curfew ordinance.

Police Chief William C. Lentini said that such a law would give officials "another tool to address the problem of children not attending school regularly."

He said the law would give officers "probable cause to initiate contact and stop and detain" children from ages 5 to 17 who are on the streets during school hours.

If a student was determined to be truant, he or she would be taken back to school and his or her parents contacted, Lentini said.

Earlier this month, the county's Chiefs of Police and Sheriff's Assn., along with superintendents from 28 school districts, announced that they were drafting a daytime curfew ordinance in the hope that the county's 31 cities would adopt it.

Lentini and Peggy Lynch, superintendent of Brea Olinda Unified School District, said they would like to have the law in place when classes resume in September, regardless of how the countywide proposal fares.

Lentini said Brea has not seen an increase in youthful offenders but that a population surge of teenagers and a general trend toward more youth crime are expected in the next few years.

The ordinance is "an attempt to get in front of the problem and do some preventive maintenance," he said.

Some school board and City Council members, however, expressed skepticism. "We have 300 to 350 students that get out at 1:30," trustee Kenneth A. Kegel said. "These have fulfilled their obligations yet would be in violation of the ordinance."

Officials said they are still debating what the penalty would be for breaking the curfew law.

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