JUVENILE CURFEW ENFORCEMENT
Effective Date Number
October 1, 1992
Juvenile Curfew Enforcement
Reference Special Instructions
Distribution Reevaluation Date No. Pages
It is the purpose of this policy to provide officers with guidance for
the enforcement of this jurisdiction's curfew ordinance.
If curfew laws are to be effective, they must be enforced in a
consistent, fair and uniform manner. In addition, to be properly
evaluated, enforcement actions must be fully documented. To these and
related ends, law enforcement officers shall follow the procedures
outlined below when enforcing curfew violations.
A. Confronting Potential Violators
Upon observation of a juvenile who is in possible violation of
the curfew ordinance, an officer should take the following steps:
1. Request the juvenile's name, age, date of birth and address
and, if necessary, provide the dispatcher with the location
of the potential violation, the number of persons involved
and their identity or physical description.
2. Should the individual be in violation of curfew
restrictions, ascertain why the youth is out, where he has
been and where he is going.
3. Inform the individual that he is in violation of the curfew
4. Determine from communications whether the individual has
outstanding warrants and, if possible, whether he has been
previously cited for curfew violations.
5. If the individual has two prior curfew violations,
particular consideration should be given to arrest as an
alternative within the guidelines of this policy.
6. In all cases where a curfew violation has been identified,
the officer shall complete the appropriate departmental
record of the violation.
B. Enforcement Options
When a curfew violation has been identified, an officer may use
reasonable discretion in determining an appropriate course of
action. These options include directing the juvenile to proceed
directly home, transporting the juvenile home, or arrest and
detention of the juvenile until his parents or guardian can be
reached for pickup.
1. Directing a violator to proceed directly home is normally
a. first offenses;
b. when the circumstances of the violation suggest a
reasonable attempt on the part of the juvenile to
conform with the law; or
c. when the officer feels that the individual will
proceed home as directed.
2. If directed to proceed directly home, the officer shall
present a copy of the violation to the youth and provide
counseling on the purpose and intent of the curfew ordinance
and the potential police response to future violations.
3. Transporting the juvenile home is normally warranted when
a. the juvenile has more than one curfew violation;
b. when there are indications that the juvenile has
purposely ignored the law;
c. when the officer has suspicion that the juvenile will
not proceed home;
d. when the officer feels that he needs to make personal
contact with the youth's parents or guardian; or
e. when there is a question concerning the whereabouts of
the parents or their ability to provide proper
supervision for or control of their child. (Note: In
this case, arrest and referral to juvenile authorities
may be a reasonable and prudent option.)
4. When the juvenile is transported home, the parent or
responsible adult should be contacted, informed of the
specific circumstances of the violation, the nature and
purpose of the law and potential consequences of future
violations. A copy of the violation should be served the
parent or guardian, who should sign the original.
Unwillingness of the parent or guardian to sign shall be
noted on the violation or warning notice.
5. Arrest and detention of a curfew law violator should
normally be made when the youth has two or more prior curfew
violations or when, for example,
a. the officer has knowledge of the juvenile's past
delinquent or criminal history that demonstrates a
pattern of disregard for the law, or
b. when the circumstances of the offense, such as the
time and location of the violation, provides
reasonable suspicion of intent to commit additional
delinquent or criminal acts.
6. Officers may use their discretion concerning arrest upon any
violation. In all cases, officers should clearly specify
the basis for their arrest decision.
7. When a juvenile is arrested, he shall be transported to the
appropriate holding area where his parents or guardian will
be contacted as soon as possible for pickup. Such detention
shall conform with this department's policy on legal
detention of juveniles in terms of length, location of
detention and nature of security used. The parent or
responsible adult shall be provided the same information and
notice of violation as provided in item III-B-4 of this
8. If the juvenile's parents or guardian cannot be contacted
within the prescribed period of time allowed for such
detention, the youth shall be transported to this
jurisdiction's juvenile care facility. The officer's report
on the incident shall indicate the juvenile authority's
final disposition of the case.
C. Reporting and Follow-up Requirements
To adequately evaluate the effectiveness of the curfew ordinance
and its impact on crime in this community and to provide
information for the tracking of curfew violators, it is essential
that the following reporting and follow-up activities be
1. All officers shall submit a report of a curfew violation in
which a citation has been issued or a juvenile taken into
custody. The report shall detail the name and place of
residence of the violator, the time, place and circumstances
surrounding the violation; actions taken by the officer with
respect to the violator; any citations or warnings issued to
the juvenile, parents or guardians; the final disposition of
the incident; and any other pertinent information.
2. Shift supervisors shall review all curfew reports for
completeness and shall use this information as necessary to
identify current or potential problem areas or individuals
on their watch.
3. The juvenile unit shall ensure that a notice of violation is
forwarded via first class mail to any parent or guardian who
was not personally served with such notice by the arresting
or reporting officer. In addition, the juvenile division
a. use these reports as appropriate to identify current
or potential juvenile problem areas such as common
locations and/or establishments where violations are
frequently taking place; and
b. where identified, take such action necessary to fully
inform proprietors or others of their responsibility
to discourage and to report such violations.
4. The central records unit shall be responsible for the proper
filing of curfew violation reports and shall, at the
direction of the chief executive officer or his designee,
develop such statistical reports on enforcement actions or
other matters as may be required.
This project was supported by Grant No. 87-SN-CX-KO77 awarded by the Bureau of
Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.
The Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs, coordinates the
activities of the following program offices and bureaus: the Bureau of
Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Institute of
Justice, Office of Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention, and the Office of
Victims of Crime. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of
the author and do not represent the official position or policies of the
United States Department of Justice.
Every effort has been made by the IACP National Law Enforcement Policy Center staff and advisory
board to ensure that this model policy incorporates the most current information and contemporary
professional judgment on this issue. However, law enforcement administrators should be cautioned
that no "model" policy can meet all the needs of any given law enforcement agency. Each law
enforcement agency operates in a unique environment of federal court rulings, state laws, local
ordinances, regulations, judicial and administrative decisions and collective bargaining
agreements that must be considered. In addition, the formulation of specific agency policies
must take into account local political and community perspectives and customs, prerogatives and
demands; often divergent law enforcement strategies and philosophies, and the impact of varied
agency resource capabilities among other factors.