MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis mayor A C Wharton is proposing the creation of ‘Juvenile Safety Centers’ as holding centers for minors caught breaking the current curfew.
Currently, curfew violators can be taken into custody by police and taken to their home or the Juvenile Court.
Those 16 and under must be home by 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
Those between 17 and 18 years old get an extra hour.
Wharton said officers need to have more options and just issuing a summons, “diminishes the seriousness of the event. It also breeds disrespect for the law.” Wharton went on to say, “I am told the current restrictions are severely demoralizing to our law enforcement officers.” Wharton went on to say, “It is my firm belief that removing the handcuffs from our police officers when it comes to making decisions as to transporting juveniles would go a long way.”
Mayor Wharton said he’s worried taking too many minors to Juvenile Court would overwhelm the court system and violate the “States Disproportionate Minority Contact Policy. For those reasons, Wharton wants to designate several community centers where minors could be held for a “reasonable amount of time while the parent or guardian is contacted.
Mayor Wharton would also like to see the curfew for those 17-18 shortened to 11:30 Sunday nights.
Juvenile Court Judge Dan Michael has reportedly met with Mayor Wharton and is said to be putting together a meeting between, “pertinent policymakers and officials to begin working together to make necessary changes in our present laws to ensure juveniles are kept safe and that we do not do anything to encourage disrespect for the law.”