The Valdosta Police Department is hosting a series of community forums for open debate about the proposal to amend the teen curfew.
Last night, community members packed out the meeting chambers at city hall in Valdosta. Many came seeking clarity about the proposed amendment to the teen curfew.
If passed, the curfew would fine parents up to one thousand dollars as maximum punishment.
Police Chief Brian Childress says that would be the last resort.
"We're going to solve the problem here, or I won't be police chief," he said. "I think many folks were concerned with 'are we going to take a single mother who truly is trying to raise her child, and put them in jail?' That is not the intent of this ordinance."
Chief Childress presented a presentation to community members listing ways he would try to work with parents. If a parent is found in violation of the ordinance, the parent and child would have to take a class. That course would cost fifty dollars. The Second violation would be monetary.
But Childress stands firm in says no one is going to jail.
"I just think last night we were more prepared," Childress said. "We have everything "cooked." We had the program better outlined and what we're going to do. I think people were more receptive.
When all is said and done, Childress says this is what he believes is best.
"We either do this, in trying to figure out why they're out there and try to solve this, and I'm not talking about putting people in jail necessarily. Or we do nothing, and let them get shot or get arrest records?"
Thursday night was just the first of three community forums that VPD is hosting.
The next one will be on Wednesday, October 4, at 7:00 p.m., at the Mildred Hunter Center.
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