MEMPHIS, Tenn. —
A controversial program through the Memphis Police Department (MPD) targeting youth in the city was paused, and now it’s expected to be launched in June.
By this summer, MPD hopes to be using the Greenlaw Community Center in the Uptown area as a space where youth curfew violators can be held until they’re reunited with their parents.
At Tuesday’s city council public safety committee meeting, MPD outlined more details about the juvenile crime abatement program.
City council members and MPD saying it’s not about detaining youth but ensuring their safety.
“The program that was presented today is one that is in progress,” councilmember Rhonda Logan said. “All of us are going to have to have to continue to resolve and so it’s not the time to point the finger. It’s not the time to say this is too much, this is too little.”
According to MPD...State law outlines four juvenile curfew times:
Children 16 & under must be home by 10p.m
17-year-olds must be home by 11 p.m.
Fridays & Saturdays:
11 p.m. is the curfew for kids 16 & under
12 a.m. for 17-year-olds.
MPD chief C.J. Davis said it’s not about arresting or detaining children but about keeping young children off the streets and safe at night until they can be reunited with their parents or guardians.
It's a move community organizer Gilbert Carter said raises concerns and should be a signal for parents to become more involved.
“We know that parents have to manage a lot,” Carter said. “Parents have many variables, many moving parts in their respective households. But we’re talking about an occupation force, an oppression force looking to criminalize children, specifically Black and Brown children. Parents have to stand up. I want to see more parents out in front.”
Public safety committee chairwoman Rhonda Logan believes this is only a starting point that must involve all community stakeholders.
“We definitely want to be responsible in providing services for our youth, in taking care of our youth,” Logan said.
MPD plans to provide additional details next month to the city council about the youth curfew enforcement program before its expected launch in June.