Green Forest, Ark. city leaders consider amending punishment for curfew violations

Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 6:27 PM CDT
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GREEN FOREST, Ark. (KY3) - Green Forest City Council is looking to amend its citywide curfew ordinance to include a punishment of up to $500 or 40 hours of community service.

The ordinance has been in effect since 2007 and includes all Green Forest children ages 17 and younger. It has never clarified the punishable acts that can come from a violation.

“This is not something we have a problem with,” said Green Forest Police Chief John Bailey. “The ordinance is there in case take some type of legal action. Most years I’ve been here, if we have a problem, we can usually stop and talk with them, explain the problem, and usually that remedies it 99% of the time.”

Bailey says the ordinance is a perfect example of enforcing the spirit of the law instead of the letter of the law.

Green Forest residents we spoke to Thursday say they were unaware there was a curfew for minors, which is no surprise as the city clerk says there has only been one citation for a curfew violation in the last decade.

“It tells me that it isn’t really being enforced,” said Tim Booth, high school principal. “We know, based on things we’ve seen, that there are kids out past that time of the night.”

Booth spoke on an incident last month when security cameras caught vandals destroying signs the school had put up for kindergarten graduation.

“I don’t really feel like there is much of a problem in the first place,” said Isaiah Fraga, who is a 17-year-old going to be a senior at Green Forest High School. “There’s really not much to do here besides go hang out with friends or go play ball at the courts they just put in.”

Fraga says he thinks the curfew is reasonable to keep “the party kids” from being places they shouldn’t be, but that the maximum punishment is excessive.

The amendment had its first reading Monday night at the city council meeting and, if approved, would go into effect immediately.

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