Curfew stickers now available from Natchez police

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 14, 2003

NATCHEZ &045;&045; It is time for a change, and Hillaire Long is ready to evoke that change in people’s minds.

Starting this week, Long’s Guardian Angel curfew stickers are available at the records division of the Natchez Police Department.

These free, orange, round, reflective clock stickers are for parents to place on the back windshield of their teenagers’ cars. Natchez Police Chief Mike Mullins said parents should put the stickers in the left rear corner of the back window so police officers will know where to look for them.

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They are not large, cheesy, gaudy or ugly, just large enough for police officers to see in the back windshield, Long said.

If a police officer sees the sticker on the back of a vehicle after curfew hours &045;&045; after 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and after midnight Fridays and Saturdays &045;&045; the police officer will then pull the car over.

If the person driving the car is under 18, Mullins said the person will first be given a warning for violating curfew. If the person is pulled over a second time, he will be taken to the police department and his parents will be called to pick him up. After a third time, an affidavit can be signed for the arrest of the parents, Mullins said.

Long said the purpose of the stickers is to keep people off of the road when they do not need to be out and keeping them from the danger of drunk drivers.

Long said she hopes if a teenager has the sticker on the back of his car, it will prevent him from even getting in the car after hours.

&uot;I just hope people will use them,&uot; Long said.

The program is voluntary and there are 1,000 stickers available. But Long said if they run

out, she will get more. She raised $450 from individuals and businesses throughout Natchez for the first set.

&uot;My goal is to make it cool again to not drink and drive,&uot; Long said.

Not only is Long working for change, but area schools are as well, all offering to help Long in any way they can. Some schools, Long said, have even said they will put up booths at sporting events to hand out the stickers.

Groups like Junior Auxiliary and the Natchez High School drug and violence prevention group are all supporting Long and her efforts.

&uot;It’s one thing for me to stand up … but it’s another thing when 40 people my age (agree),&uot; Long said, adding now she is looking less for monetary support but more for peer support.

It has been three months of working to get her idea to become a reality, but Long’s hard work is finally paying off.

After seeing six friends and acquaintances die in just two years, Long said she wanted to do something to evoke change and make people think about the consequences of being out too late and of drinking and driving.

&uot;They just paid the price for everyone else to learn a lesson,&uot; Long said of those that have lost their lives in car accidents in recent years.