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Curfew imposed to stop nighttime street roaming and vandalism

Minors who violate Kenmare’s curfew hours could find themselves headed to Minot for an appearance in juvenile court or even a stay in the juvenile detention center.

8/17/11 (Wed)

Unsupervised children may be taken to Minot

juvenile detention facility


Minors who violate Kenmare’s curfew hours could find themselves headed to Minot for an appearance in juvenile court or even a stay in the juvenile detention center.


That’s a promise from Kenmare chief of police Gary Kraft, who wants to end the reports he is receiving about random vandalism and kids out walking or riding bicycles at all hours of the night into early morning.


Under the curfew notice, as published in The Kenmare News this week, all children ages 12 and younger are required to be home or under a parent’s or guardian’s supervision by 9:30 pm each night.


Teens from 13- to 17-years-old must be home or under parent/guardian supervision each night by 11:00 pm, an hour by which both the C-Store and Kenmare Theatre are closed for the evening.


Notes written by parents or guardians giving permission for the child to be unsupervised after curfew hours will not be accepted by the Kenmare Police Department.


According to Kraft, he and his officers have been spending a great deal of time in recent weeks following, tracking down and taking home kids who are out on the city streets long after they should be.


The late night activity has also involved property damage, with the latest incidents occurring during the first week of August. These included two break-ins on private property and vandalism of the flower beds at Kenmare Community Hospital and the Boy Scout Room at the Kenmare Memorial Hall.


Those incidents and a particular group of suspects remain under investigation by the local police. “These kids have been raising Cain, making a mess,” Kraft said. “They kind of went on a spree that started with walking around all night.”


He and the other patrol officers have been watching for increased activity at night, especially by juveniles. “We’ve chased kids home riding bikes after dark and taken kids home at two or three in the morning,” he said.


Sometimes, the parents are at the house or apartment, but claim to be unaware of their child’s nighttime activities. Other times, no parent is home when Kraft or the other officers show up on the doorstep with a child. “I know it’s hard for single parents who are working, especially,” said Kraft, “but if they’re not home at night, what are the kids going to be doing?”


He explained the stricter enforcement of the curfew will mean that children taken home after hours by Kenmare police officers can be cited to appear in juvenile court in Minot. “And the court could summon the parent and child to go down there to take the ‘Unruly Class,’” he added, referring to a court-ordered behavior class.


If no parent or guardian is home when the officer shows up with a child after curfew, that child could be transported to Minot to the juvenile detention facility. “We’re very limited on the amount of time we can hold a juvenile here,” Kraft said. “They would have to wait at the detention center until their parents would be able to come and pick them up. And after the third offense, we can cite the parent for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.”


Kraft hopes the curfew announcement itself will resolve most of the problems as parents become aware of the city’s law. According to his observations, about a dozen or so kids, most in the 11- to 12-year-old age range, have been violating curfew on a regular basis this summer, although a few older individuals have been seen with the group, too.


The trouble generally occurs when someone in the group offers his or her yard for a “camp-out,” although no adults may be present. “I’m sure most of the parents don’t actually realize what’s going on,” he said, adding that other adults often just assume the host parent will be home during the “camp-out” activity. “The parents need to follow up on it.”


House and family rules are often relaxed during the summer months, and finding kids out wandering around town after curfew is nothing new for Kraft. However, in the past, he has seen little or no vandalism. “This time, they’re damaging property,” he said.


Kraft, along with patrol officers Bill Cox and Jason Cartier, will be making themselves more visible as they do extra patrols to enforce the curfew ordinance. “We want to get this under control before school starts,” said Kraft.


Anyone with further questions about the curfew ordinance should contact the Kenmare Police Department at 701-385-4411.