Conyers passes changes to child curfew laws

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Parents in Conyers were paying close attention to a vote Wednesday night at City Hall. Council members pass an ordinance which will hold any guardian, not just the parent, responsible for kids hanging out after curfew.

This is the second time the issue has come up for a vote. The old ordinance only holds parents responsible for having children younger than 16 out past curfew. The newly passed measure expands that responsibility to any guardian, meaning parents can be penalized for not just their kids' actions after curfew, but also those of their kids’ friends.

Conyers Police said the city curfew was adopted in 2011, but not strongly enforced until 2013 when businesses started complaining about teens causing problems. According to police, the 911 calls about teens dropped once parents were cited, but said a loophole was discovered when parents would site the fact that they had left their adolescents and teens under the supervision of other adults when the curfew infraction occurred.

When council members voted on the issue a month ago, Councilman Jacob Bailey objected, citing concerns about the penalty, a fine up to a $1,000 or up to six months in jail. Bailey again voted against the measure maintaining his issue is with the penalty and not the actual curfew.

Captain Jackie told FOX 5’S Portia Bruner the largest fine was $485 for a repeat offender and he said no one has ever been sentenced to jail time under the curfew ordinance.

"The average fine is about $90 and over the years we've only issued about 70 citations and about a thousand warnings in comparison. We just want to make sure people are aware of the rules and make ensure that young people are out at midnight with no supervision," said Captain Dunn.

The measure passed despite one vote against.

RELATED: Rockdale County considers changing child curfew laws