Aldermen meeting in committee Tuesday night rejected a curfew proposal for city youngsters but called for stepped-up police contact with juveniles younger than 15 who are found outdoors at night.
"We're stopping just short of enacting a curfew," said Police Chief Patrick E. Brandow, after the police committee meeting.
"But we are stepping up underage enforcement in making parental contact."
Brandow told aldermen enforcement will include issuing warning tickets or contact cards to youths. Those cards will be part of the tracking system requiring communication between police and parents within a 24- or 48-hour period, he said. Where appropriate, legal action also will be taken, he said. Ward 7 Alderman Richard Say, who proposed the curfew legislation, said he would end his campaign for the curfew.
"I wanted to focus attention on what I perceive was a problem," he said.
Police Sgt. William Aiello, who serves as juvenile officer, pointed out in a written report to the committee that the curfew legislation was deficient. In addition, the report continued, some curfew laws in other communities are on hold because of questions about their constitutionality and wording.
Brandow noted a survey of youth contacts done by one night-duty police sergeant showed some "problems with kids hanging out" in the Community Bank neighborhood during the 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift.
"There are a lot of good kids out there who are just bored," Brandow said. "I don't condone it but it doesn't make a bad kid."
He also agreed curfews are hard to enforce. He suggested community watch groups and creation of a youth center are better solutions.
In committee action, the Common Council heard comments from about 120 residents who objected to the proposed reorganization of the Parks and Recreation Department under the Department of Public Works.