City leaders vote against proposed Valdosta curfew ordinance

City leaders vote against proposed Valdosta curfew ordinance
Valdosta Mayor John Gayle (Source: WALB)
Valdosta Mayor John Gayle (Source: WALB)
Captain Kari Williams (Source: WALB)
Captain Kari Williams (Source: WALB)

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Valdosta city leaders have voted against a proposed curfew ordinance.

On Thursday night, the Valdosta City Council rejected a controversial teen curfew, that would have held the parents responsible for their children.

The proposal lost in a 2 to 5 vote of city commissioners.

After three community readings and three public input forums, the city council voted on the teen curfew ordinance.

The ordinance would have required teens 17 and under to be out of the streets from midnight to 5 a.m., it would have held the parents responsible for their children and would have replaced the state law.

"We were doing this to try to protect as many children as they could," said Valdosta Mayor John Gayle.

Police said a spike in juvenile crime this summer is what called for the ordinance to be proposed.

Out of 158 arrests this summer, 75 percent were juveniles.

"It's to curb crime that occurs in the community. It's also to keep juveniles off of the streets so they are not committing crimes. We're trying to lead the children into their future with the brightest hope possible and not having any type of record," explained Captain Kari Williams with the Valdosta Police Department.

Mayor Gayle disagreed.

"We had done more work on this than we've ever done on any ordinance," said Gayle.

Now that the ordinance was declined, police have no choice but to enforce state law, which is more drastic than the ordinance. Meaning police will issue arrest warrants to minors who are 16 and under caught on the street between midnight and 5 a.m.

"The law is very drastic and we don't really want to have to enforce that, but by law, our policemen have to enforce it," said Gayle.

Both sides did agree that the juvenile crime issue has to stop and they will come together on how to resolve the problem within the coming months.

Mayor Gayle said he's very disappointed the ordinance did not go through and knows this is a continual problem in the community. He said he will continue to work on resolving this issue.

Copyright 2017 WALB. All rights reserved.

Keep up with WALB on the go! 
Follow us on social  
   and download our apps!