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Curfews in Emmetsburg

By Staff | Aug 15, 2017

As the school year approaches and summer quickly comes to an end, it is appropriate to address the Emmetsburg City Ordinance concerning minors.

As a matter of public safety, the City of Emmetsburg has a curfew in place for minors, “The Council has determined that a curfew for minors is necessary to promote the public health, safety, morals and general welfare of the City and specifically to reinforce the primary authority and responsibility of adults responsible for minors; to protect the public from the illegal acts of minors committed after curfew hours; and to protect minors from improper influences and criminal activity that prevail in public places after the curfew hour.”

In Emmetsburg, curfew hours are from 12:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. During this timeframe, it is “unlawful for a minor to be or remain upon any of the alleys, streets or public places or to be in places of business and amusement.” This statement means that a minor is expected to be in his or her own residence or a friend’s house by 12:30 a.m. There are a few exceptions to this rule: if a responsible adult accompanies the minor, the minor is on a sidewalk on his/her property of residence AND a responsible adult has given the child permission to be outside. The minor may also be allowed on the streets if they are traveling to or from a place of employment, religious activity, political activity, school activity or sport, on an emergency errand for a responsible adult, or if the minor is traveling across the state. The minor must take the most direct route to his destination.

It is illegal for a responsible adult to knowingly allow a minor to be in a public place within city limits during the established time of curfew.

This ordinance is enforced by the Emmetsburg Police Department. If a juvenile should be caught in city limits during curfew, the officer will take steps to determine the age of the child via drivers license or birth certificate. If the child does not have identification on his person, then the officer can use his best judgment to determine the child’s age.

A child may be taken into custody if he refuses to sign the citation without qualification; continues to violate the ordinance; refuses to identify himself to the officer; or is an immediate threat to the person’s safety. If the child is arrested, the minor will be kept in custody in a shelter care facility or in a non-secured setting. No bodily restraints will be used on a minor unless he resists arrest or threatens injury while being taken into custody.

Once a minor has been placed under arrest, the child’s guardian shall be notified as soon as possible. The minor will be released to the guardian with the promise that the guardian will bring the child to court when scheduled. If the police are unable to contact the child’s guardians, the officer shall attempt to place the minor with an adult relative or another adult who is known to the child.

As a penalty for a first time offense, a police officer will give the minor written warning of his violation and let it be known that any more violations will result in full enforcement of the curfew ordinance. If the child continues to violate curfew, he will be guilty of a municipal infraction.

As a final note in Chapter 46 in the Emmetsburg Code of Ordinances, it is illegal for any child under 18 to “smoke, use, possess, purchase, or attempt” to purchase any tobacco products or cigarettes.