VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - A Valdosta City councilman wants to see a “saggy pants” ordinance in the city.
“People comment, ‘if we are made to wear a mask why can’t we do something about these people with their pants hanging out.’ And that’s something I talked about when I ran for office three years ago, I said this is something that needs to be addressed,” Eric Howard, a Valdosta City Councilman said.
Howard said he would like to see a saggy pants ordinance in the city.
Howard said it’s an area of concern. But with an ordinance, the city and community can help structure it in a way that won’t criminalize certain behaviors.
Howard said if they just have the Valdosta Police Department go out and enforce the indecent exposure law that is currently on the book, the city or community has no say in it.
Everyone gets the same punishment.
“If you don’t respect yourself, you’re not going to get respect from anyone else,” said Howard.
Some ideas Howard has if it was enforced include having those under 18 doing community service in the neighborhoods they live.
Those older than 18, Howard said, should be required to pay a fine and not have them around younger people, setting a bad example.
Howard said they would look at the saggy pants ordinance passed in other places and model it after theirs.
Howard says in 2012, a former councilman tried to get it passed but it was shut down.
“I’ve heard from both sides, and I think the main reason I hear from both sides is because the climate we are in with police brutality in certain parts of the country. They don’t want people to be targeted and they think it can escalate to something else. But with the ones I’m hearing that want it, they are fed up. They think it’s time for it,” said Howard.
Howard said he’s planning to discuss it with the Valdosta mayor and city council.
If they don’t make an ordinance, Howard pointed out, the police will just start enforcing what is on the book. He feels this could lead to a bigger problem.