Highland County County Juvenile Court Judge Kevin Greer has announced that the annual countywide curfew for persons under the age of 18 will commence Tuesday, Oct. 1.
The curfew will run through Oct. 31 and requires all persons under the age of 18 to be off the streets and in their homes by 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and by midnight on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The curfew does not apply where children are accompanied by parents, legal guardians or custodians. Exception is also made for children attending church, school or employment activities.
Enforcement will be handled by all law enforcement agencies, including the sheriff’s office, city or village police, and juvenile probation officers.
Greer also said that after consultation with law enforcement, it is requested that each jurisdiction set Beggar’s Night for 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31.
Exactly when an October curfew for juveniles began no one seems to know, but officials have said in the past that the duty generally falls to the judge of juvenile court and that the curfew is not meant to keep kids from things they should be doing, but to curtail some of the mischievous activities kids might get into this time of year.
Former Highland County Juvenile Court Judge Richard Davis said in the past that the curfew goes back at least to the judge who preceded him, Orland Roades, in the late 1950s.
Davis said that when Roades was in office he simply issued an order establishing a countywide curfew around the time of Halloween. But, when Davis took office in 1965, he said he found there was no regular procedure in place to issue such an order, so he drafted an ordinance that allowed the juvenile judge to set a uniform curfew. He said that before, the various cities and villages in the county had all kids of different curfews, which led to confusion.
“So the draft gave some authority to the juvenile judge to do what we do now,” Davis said. “It helped out to have a uniform curfew and made proper adjustments for kids at school functions, church programs, etc.”
Greer, too, previously said he’s not sure where the idea of an October curfew originated, but assumes it started as a way to keep kids from pulling pranks like soaping windows. He said he does not see an increase in juvenile offenses in October.
Actually, Greer said, most villages and the one city in the county have juvenile curfews that are in effect all year.
“What this does is enforce it out in the county as well,” Greer said.
In Greenfield, there is a year around curfew for juveniles from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weekdays, plus Sunday, and 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
In Hillsboro, there is a year around curfew that requires juveniles to be off the street by midnight, unless they’re going to or from church, school or employment, or they’re with a parent our guardian.
Greer said that when he took office in 1997, he simply continued a tradition that was already in place in requesting a uniform date and time for Beggar’s Night countywide. He said Davis put it in place because the sheriff’s office didn’t want to be running all over the county for Beggar’s Nights on different dates and at different times.
“Legally, its up to every jurisdiction, and is just a courtesy to law enforcement, which I continue to do only as a suggestion, Greer said.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.