Tuesday, September 18, 2007
GRANDVIEW - A curfew and tougher penalties for gang-related crimes are just some of the additional teeth the city of Grandview wants to put in its codes.
Police Chief Dave Charvet presented the proposal last night, Monday, during a city council study session.
Calling the beefed up laws a "pretty workable tool," Charvet said the idea is to toughen existing laws on the books rather than write a new anti-gang ordinance as Yakima and Sunnyside have.
Under terms of the proposal, which will be considered for action at the Oct. 1 council meeting, a curfew would keep youngsters off the streets each morning from midnight to 5 a.m. "That's the big one...we need to get kids off the street," Charvet said of the curfew.
Assistant Chief Mark Ware defended language in the toughened law proposal that makes it unlawful to leave children under the age of 12 alone in a car. Councilwoman Pam Horner had challenged that piece of the proposal because state law stipulates that children 10 and under cannot be left alone.
Ware said the older age is needed because according to state guidelines children 12 and older "know right from wrong." Ware added that for that reason it's difficult to prosecute a child younger than 12 who is charged with a crime.
Other gang-related aspects of the proposal include a minimum of 30 days in jail for gang members convicted of participating in a fight. There is no minimum sentencing for a member of the general public not affiliated with a gang.
Councilwoman Joanne Souders praised the tougher laws as a "response" to the gang issue rather than "just reacting."
In the bigger picture, Grandview Mayor Norm Childress believes the enhanced codes will send a message about crime, especially gang-related activities.
"This let's the state know that we want action taken," Childress said.