LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Little Rock City Board of Directors has moved to table an ordinance that would lengthen the curfew for juveniles.
The board was expected to vote on the ordinance Tuesday. It outlines a curfew to keep kids under the age of 18 out of city parks and city entertainment districts from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. every day.
The current curfew starts at 10 p.m. on weekdays and 12 a.m. on weekends.
“Children’s safety should come first,” Little Rock resident Shanice Cole said. “Things happen to children at nighttime.”
The potential of a curfew put some in Little Rock at ease, but at the board meeting the ordinance was up for debate.
The initiative was added to the agenda late and some board members felt they didn’t have enough time to think it through.
“I think the public should have a chance to weigh in on this,” Director Virgil Miller Jr, said.
One of the entertainment districts in question is the Little Rock River Market.
LRPD said it doesn’t have enough officers to patrol the area, making it unsafe for children and potential alcohol use.
Director Antwan Phillips said before deciding, he wants more information from the businesses downtown.
“There may be a bunch of people who don’t care but they should have the opportunity to not care,” Phillips said.
Others said they think waiting is a bad idea.
“If you don’t care about downtown, let’s put it off for two weeks, let’s put it off for 4 weeks, it doesn’t make any difference, it’s going to go to hell in a hand basket anyway,” City Board Director Dr. Dean Kumpuris said.
Kumpuris said the city needs to act now to help save a growing problem of crime among young people.
The debate continued for 40 minutes and ended in a vote to push the decision back.
Mayor Frank Scott Jr. is expected to call a special meeting to discuss the issue further next Tuesday.