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Curfew prohibits minors from staying out late

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"We have so many absent parents that it's unbelievable ... "

Parents who let their children roam the city late at night are being warned that they are in violation of Campbellsville's curfew for minors ordinance.

The ordinance, which has been in effect since 2000, sets a curfew for individuals younger than 18. Minors who aren't accompanied by a parent or guardian are prohibited from being in a public building or street between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday through Monday. On Friday and Saturday, the curfew is extended to 1 a.m.

Campbellsville Police Chief Tim Hazlette said the ordinance is pretty liberal because he considers 1 a.m. awfully late for minors to be out on weekends.

"If they had a job, they would be too tired to stay out that late," Hazlette said.

Hazlette said his department doesn't receive many complaints about violations of the ordinance. While the parking lot at Campbellsville's Walmart sometimes attracts late-night loiterers, Campbellsville Police Officer Charlie Houk said most of them are older than 18.

While parents who allow their children to violate the ordinance could receive a fine or jail time, Hazlette said a ride home in a police car and a conversation with the parents is usually all that's needed.

Houk said residents should take the ordinance seriously.

"The later you're out, the more opportunity you have to get into something you wouldn't normally get into," Houk said.

Hazlette said drivers under the age of 18 should also be reminded of the state's law regarding intermediate driver's licenses.

"Anybody with an intermediate driver's license, which means somebody between the ages of 16 and 18, is not allowed to be out driving after midnight," Hazlette said.

He said exceptions are made if the minor has a job, was involved in a school-sponsored activity or in the case of an emergency.

According to Hazlette, about half of the parents whose children are in violation of the ordinance tell officers they didn't know the ordinance existed. But whether parents are aware of the ordinance, Hazlette said they should know better than to let their children wander around the city unsupervised.

"We have so many absent parents that it's unbelievable. We've got people that just don't supervise their children," Hazlette said.

According to Hazlette, parents must set boundaries for their children to control their behavior. The more done at home, Hazlette said, the less will have to be done in public.

"We need to have parents who want to be parents. Not be their child's friend, but to be parents," Hazlette said.

Taylor County Sheriff Allen Newton said there is no curfew in effect for minors outside the city limits, with the exception of the intermediate license law.