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Ordinance to be Introduced March 18, 2014

City Council of the CITY OF CONNELLSVILLE will introduce a 'Minor Curfew Ordinance at the meeting on March 18, 2014. Here is a preview of the Ordinance.•

MINOR CURFEW ORDINANCE ORDINANCE NO. _________•

An Ordinance establishing a curfew for minors during night and school hours; repealing prior ordinances; establishing unlawful conduct of minors, parents, and establishment operators; defining exceptions to unlawful conduct; establishing penalties for violations; and providing for enforcement.•

WHEREAS, the Third Class City Code, 53 P.S. § 37403(22), affords the City of Connellsville with the power “to establish and enforce suitable police regulations for the protection of persons and property at public squares, parks, depots, depot grounds, and other places of public resort, owned, controlled or managed by the city or an agency or bureau thereof, and for the arrest and commitment of…suspicious persons found in any part of the city who can give no reasonable account of themselves;” and•

WHEREAS, the Third Class City Code, 53 P.S. § 37403(25), affords the City of Connellsville with the power “to prevent and restrain riots, noises, disturbances, or disorderly assemblies in any street, house, or place in the city;” and•

WHEREAS, the Third Class City Code, 53 P.S. § 37403(55), affords the City of Connellsville with the power “to define disorderly conduct within the limits of the city and to provide for the imposition of penalties for such conduct in such amounts, without limitation except as in this act provided, as council shall establish;” and•

WHEREAS, the Third Class City Code, 53 P.S. § 37403(60), affords the City of Connellsville with the power “to make and adopt all such ordinances, by-laws, rules, and regulations…as may be expedient or necessary for the proper management, care, and control of the city…and the maintenance of the peace, good government, safety, and welfare of the city…; and also all such ordinances, by-laws, rules and regulations as may be necessary in and to the exercise of the powers and authority of local self-government in all municipal affairs;” and•

WHEREAS, there have been several recent instances of violent crimes perpetrated by and against minors within the City of Connellsville; and•

WHEREAS, it is the desire of the City of Connellsville to protect the residents, including both adults and minors, and property located within the boundaries of the City of Connellsville.•

BE IT ENACTED AND ORDAINED by the City Council of the City of Connellsville, Fayette County, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and it is hereby enacted and ordained as follows:•

Section 1. Repeal of Prior Ordinances.•

Ordinance No. 137, enacted in 1917; Ordinance No. 949, enacted October 28, 1963; Ordinance No. 1125, enacted November 12, 1974; and Ordinance No. 1170, enacted January 27, 1978, all as may have been amended heretofore, are hereby repealed.•

Section 2. Policy and Intent.•

Violence in our community committed by and against minors is a cause of great concern for the immediate health, safety, and general welfare of our citizens. The City of Connellsville highly values the health, safety, and general welfare of our minors, and has a vested interest in preserving and nurturing them as a valuable asset and investment in Connellsville's future. Persons under the age of eighteen (18) are vulnerable to be pressured to participate in violent unlawful activities and to be victims of perpetrators of violent crimes due to their general lack of maturity and experience. Minors who are present in public places during the late night and early morning hours and during school hours are particularly vulnerable to being victimized and abused. The City of Connellsville needs effective tools available to protect minors from the dangers that exist in the late night and early morning hours and during school hours at public places.•

The City Council of the City of Connellsville, recognizing the problem of crimes committed by and committed against minors during the late night and early morning hours and during school hours and believing that it can be dealt with more effectively by regulating the hours during which minors may remain in public places and certain establishments without adult supervision, and by defining more clearly certain duties and responsibilities upon those who have custody and responsibility for the care of such minors, hereby enacts this ordinance with the intent of promoting the general welfare and protecting the general public through the reduction of juvenile violence and crime within the City of Connellsville, promoting the safety and welfare of the City's minors whose youth and inexperience renders them particularly vulnerable to becoming participants in criminal activity and victims of perpetrators of crime, and fostering and strengthening parental responsibility for children.•

Section 3. Definitions.•

The following terms, words, and phrases, whenever used in this ordinance, shall be construed and defined as follows:•

“After Hours” shall mean the period between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. on Sunday through Thursday nights during the school year and between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights during the school year for the Connellsville Area School District and on all nights during the period of summer vacation from school for the Connellsville Area School District.•

“During School Hours” shall mean the period between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. during any school day except any school day on which a school cancellation, vacation, or holiday is officially observed by the school attended by such minor.•

“Establishment” shall mean any privately owned place of business operated for profit, including any place of amusement or entertainment, to which the public is invited.•

“Emergency” shall refer to unforeseen circumstances, or the status or condition resulting therefrom, requiring immediate action to safeguard life, limb, or property. The term includes but is not limited to fires, natural disaster, automobile accidents, or similar circumstances.•

“Knowingly” shall mean knows or has reason to know.•

“Minor” shall mean any person less than eighteen (18) years of age and does not include any person who is married or who is emancipated. For the purpose of this ordinance any person shall be deemed to be eighteen (18) years of age on the date of his or her 18th birthday and not before such date.•

“Operator” shall mean any individual, firm, association, partnership, or corporation owning, operating, managing, or conducting any establishment. Whenever used in any provision prescribing a penalty, the word "operator" shall include the members, partners, officers, and managers of any firm, association, partnership, or corporation.•

“Parent” shall mean the biological or adoptive parent of a minor; a legal guardian; or an adult person twenty-one (21) years of age or older and who is authorized by a minor's parent or legal guardian to be responsible, either temporarily or permanently, for the custody or care of any minor or for the control of such minor.•

“Public Place” shall mean any public street, highway, road, alley, park, playground, or parking lot, or any private building, structure or area to which the public is invited or in which the public is allowed to remain.•

“Remain” shall mean to be at or stay at a place.•

Section 4. Unlawful Conduct of Minor.•

It shall be unlawful for a minor to remain in or upon any public place or to remain in any motor vehicle operating or parked therein or thereon, or to remain in or upon an establishment within the boundaries of the City of Connellsville after hours or during school hours, except as follows:•

The minor is accompanied by a parent;•

The minor is involved in an emergency;•

The minor is engaged in an activity related to his or her employment, or is going to or returning home from such activity, without detour or stop;•

The minor is on the sidewalk directly abutting a place where he or she resides with a parent, or the minor is on the property or the sidewalk of an adult next-door neighbor with that neighbor's permission;•

The minor is attending an activity sponsored by a school, religious or civic organization, by a public organization or agency, or by another similar organization or entity, which activity is supervised by adults, and/or the minor is going to or returning from such activity without detour or stop;•

The minor is on an errand at the direction of a parent, and the minor has in his or her possession a writing signed by the parent containing the following information: the name, signature, address and telephone number of the parent authorizing the errand, the telephone number where the parent may be reached during the errand, the name of the minor, the minor's destination(s) and the hours the minor is authorized to be engaged in the errand. No minor or parent shall falsify the document described above;•

The minor is involved in interstate travel through or beginning or terminating in the City of Connellsville;•

The minor is exercising First Amendment rights protected by the United States Constitution, such as free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and the right of assembly;•

The minor is a homeless juvenile who uses the public place as his or her usual abode;•

The minor is absent from school during school hours with permission to be absent from school and the minor has in his or her possession a writing signed by the parent or an authorized school official containing the following information: the name, signature, address and telephone number of the parent authorizing the absence, the telephone number where the parent may be reached during the absence, the name of the minor. No minor or parent shall falsify the document described above;•

The minor is absent from school during school hours and the minor is on a vacation scheduled by such minor’s parent; or•

The minor is at a public place or establishment for an activity or event not otherwise covered by this ordinance where City Council has provided authorization.•

Section 5. Unlawful Conduct of Parents.•

No parent shall knowingly permit any minor to remain in or upon any public place or establishment after hours or during school hours unless the minor is engaged in an activity permitted under Section 4 of this ordinance.•

Section 6. Unlawful Conduct of Operators of Establishments.•

No operator of an establishment shall knowingly permit any minor to remain upon the premises of such establishment after hours or during school hours.•

Section 7. Rules and Regulations.•

The Chief of Police, is hereby authorized, from time to time, to promulgate such rules and regulations, including the extension of hours for special occasions, as in his opinion shall be necessary or useful in the enforcement of this ordinance. Such rules and regulations shall, however, be subject to the approval of the City Council of the City of Connellsville.•

Section 8. Enforcement.•

Before taking any enforcement action under this ordinance, a police officer shall ask the apparent offender's age and reason for being in the public place. The officer shall not issue a citation or make an arrest under this Section unless the officer reasonably believes that an offense has occurred and that, based on any response and other circumstances, no exception set forth in Section 4 of this ordinance applies. The officer may issue a citation against the minor and/or the parent.•

Section 9. Report to Council.•

If requested by the City Council of the City of Connellsville, one (1) year following the effective date of this ordinance, the Chief of Police, or his designee, shall prepare and present a report to the City Council of the City of Connellsville concerning the effectiveness of and continuing need for this ordinance. The report shall include, but not be limited to, the following information:•

The practicality of enforcing the ordinance and any problems with enforcement identified by the Police Department and the City of Connellsville;•

The impact of this ordinance and support programs on juvenile crime statistics;•

The number of juveniles detained for curfew violations; and•

The number of official citizen complaints filed regarding the enforcement of this ordinance.•

Section 10. Severability.•

If any provisions, sentence, clause, section, or part of this ordinance or application thereof to any person or circumstance is for any reason found to be unconstitutional, illegal or invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such unconstitutionality, illegality or invalidity shall not affect or impair any of the remaining provisions, sentences, clauses, sections, or parts of this ordinance. It is hereby declared as the intent of the City Council of the City of Connellsville that this ordinance would have been adopted had such unconstitutional, illegal or invalid provision, sentence, clause, section, or part not been included herein.•

Section 11. Penalties.•

Any minor or parent who violates the provisions of this ordinance may be issued a non-traffic summary citation. The minor may be taken into temporary custody, in which case his or her parents or other appropriate person shall be notified and the minor shall be released into the custody of the appropriate parent or parents of the minor or to a brother or sister eighteen (18) years of age or older. If no such person is available after reasonable efforts have been made to locate such person, then the minor shall be released to such agencies or institutions as are established for juvenile welfare. A referral to supportive services shall be made where appropriate.•

Any minor or parent who violates any provision of this ordinance is guilty of a summary offense and, upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to fine or imprisonment as follows:•

First offense: Fifty dollars ($50.00) with referral to supportive services where appropriate. Second offense: one hundred dollars ($100.00) to one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00) with referral to supportive services where appropriate.•

Third offense: one hundred fifty ($150.00) to two hundred dollars ($200.00) with referral to supportive services where appropriate.•

Fourth offense: Two hundred dollars ($200.00) to three hundred dollars ($300.00). Parents are subject to imprisonment for up to ninety (90) days and minors to referral to the juvenile court system. The Court may also refer the offender(s) to supportive services where appropriate.•

Fifth and subsequent offenses: Three hundred dollars ($300.00) to five hundred dollars ($500.00). Parents are subject to imprisonment for up to ninety (90) days and minors to referral to the juvenile court system. The Court may also refer the offender(s) to supportive services where appropriate.•

Any operator convicted of violating the provisions of this ordinance for the first time shall be fined fifty dollars ($50.00) and shall be subject to imprisonment for a term not to exceed ninety (90) days. Any operator convicted of violating the provisions of this ordinance for the second or subsequent time shall be fined three hundred ($300.00) and shall be subject to imprisonment for a term not to exceed ninety (90) days.•

Each violation of the provisions of this ordinance shall constitute a separate offense.•

Section 12. Repealer.•

Any ordinance or part of any ordinance that conflicts with the provisions of this ordinance is hereby repealed to the extent of any such conflict on the effective date of this ordinance.•

Section 13. Effective Date.•

This ordinance shall become effective ten (10) days after enactment.•

ORDAINED AND ENACTED by the City Council of the City of Connellsville, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, this ________ day of __________________, 2014.

Site by Michael D. McCumber (Connellsville, PA Pictures