Police: Daytime curfew worked this year

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 31, 2000

Although the Natchez Police Department did not charge many juveniles with curfew violation this past year, officials still think the policy is worth it.

&uot;I hope it stays in effect,&uot; said Natchez Police Chief Willie Huff. &uot;I think it will.&uot;

The Natchez Board of Aldermen adopted a city-wide daytime curfew Oct. 12 as a means of keeping students in school during school hours. The policy isn’t in effect during the summer.

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If students are not in school, police are authorized to detain and question those juveniles.

Huff said he hopes the curfew will encourage students to attend school and also keep them from causing problems on the streets.

&uot;(The curfew) did some good this year because I saw a decrease in kids on the street,&uot; Huff said.

The police department began implementing the policy Nov. 1 but has only issued three citations from that date to the end of school this month. &uot;All three of them were kids that had been suspended from school,&uot; Huff said.

Police issued those citations around February when the curfew was still relatively new, Huff said. After the three students were cited, Huff said the word spread, cutting down on the number of juveniles on the streets.

Natchez’s crime rate dropped 2.8 percent during 1999, but officials are not certain if the rate dropped because of a curfew that was not in place until November. &uot;It’s hard to say that the curfew (ordinance) helped,&uot; Huff said. &uot;I’d like to think that it did.&uot;

Natchez-Adams Superintendent Dr. Carl Davis is also still a supporter of the daytime curfew.

&uot;We’ve got to make sure all of our kids are in school,&uot; Davis said.

But the curfew did not seem to have an impact on the school system’s average daily attendance rate, Davis said.

Still, assistant superintendent Larry Little, who maintains the district’s ADA information, believes the curfew is still needed. &uot;We see that drop in April, but it may have been even worse it if we had not had that day time curfew in (place,)&uot; Little said.

School district depend on ADA figures for funding for such things as teacher salary units, textbooks and instructional supplies.

Districts like to maintain an ADA of around 96 to 97 percent, Little said.