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Mabton to start enforcing kids curfew

MABTON - Due to increasing graffiti around the city, Mabton Police Chief Raul Almeida told the city council last night his officers will be enforcing a curfew already on the books.

Instead of targeting the kids, the parents will be the target instead. Calling it parental responsibility, no parent will be allowed to let their child remain in, on, or occupy any area of the public streets, roads, alleys, parks, playgrounds, any other public grounds, places of amusement or any unsupervised area between the hours of 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m., Sunday through Thursday and between the hours of midnight to 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

There is a law on the books restricting the daylight hours between 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. but police will not be enforcing this one.

Parents will be exempt from the enforcement provisions if the child is accompanied by his or her parent, if the child is engaged in lawful employment, or if the child is on an errand or has legitimate business pursuant to instructions from his or her parent.

There will also be an exemption if the child is involved in an emergency concerning the person or property of himself or another or if the child is returning home from school or church sponsored activities or from other activities supervised by an adult.

The term "returning home" means immediately and directly after participation in such activity, without a broken chain of sequences and time between the end of such event and the time such child returns to his or her residence or such other place as shall be authorized by his or her parent.

The Chief told the council that his officers have the authority to reasonably stop and momentarily detain a child to find out their name, age and address as well as the name and address of their parent.

If the child is found to be in violation of the law, they will be delivered to their home.

The first time a parent is in violation, they will be given a warning, Chief Almeida said.

If the parents get a second violation, a summons will be served and a hearing will be held at the Yakima County District court or another appropriate court with jurisdiction. There the parents will answer to the charge of violating the law.

If the judge determines this second violation has occurred within a 12-month period, the judge will fine the parent not less than $25 and not more than $300. If there is a third violation, the parents will be required to pay not less than $50 and no more than $300.

Chief Almeida said he wants to put the pressure on the parents to be responsible for their children's actions.

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