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Hancock considers youth curfew, loitering law

November 09, 2011|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

HANCOCK — A curfew could be coming back to Hancock for those under the age of 18 and a loitering ordinance could also be in the offing for adults.

Police Chief T.J. Buskirk outlined a draft of a curfew ordinance at a meeting Wednesday night of the mayor and town council.

The draft curfew plan is modeled on ordinances in use in Hagerstown, Myersville and Emmitsburg, he said.

People under the age of 18 would have to be home between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. on school nights, according to the draft ordinance. On weekends, the curfew would be midnight to 5 a.m.

A first-time violation would result in a warning, followed by a $50 fine for a second violation, rising to $300 for a fourth violation, according to the draft.

The town previously had curfew and loitering ordinances on the books, but they were later removed because of concerns about the constitutionality of the language, Buskirk said. It has been several years since the town had a curfew, he said.

“Since that time, we haven’t had anything to help us” deal with juveniles out late at night and early in the morning, Buskirk said.

“It’s a workable ordinance,” Buskirk told the council.

“The majority of the problem we have is not with juveniles,” but with young adults, Town Manager David Smith said.

“Many of them are young adults who can’t seem to stay out of trouble,” Mayor Daniel Murphy said.

The council will discuss the matter in further detail in December, Murphy said.

Buskirk said there is currently no draft for a new loitering ordinance, but one is being worked on by the town attorney.

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