Hitt: "County Needs Curfew"

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Craig Hitt, president of the Lauderdale County board of supervisors, Thursday asked fellow supervisors to consider imposing a midnight curfew for youngsters under the age of 18. It would apply to areas outside the city of Meridian, which already has a similar curfew.

"The remarks that have been made to me in response to the vandalism as well as the talk of a curfew, possible curfew, is the fact that it gives parents another tool to use in knowing where their children are at certain times and what activities they're involved in," said Hitt.

Reaction from the board was mixed. District 5 supervisor Ray Boswell said no. "I don't believe in punishing everybody in this county for the misdeeds of a few," said Boswell. "I don't think we need to baby sit kids. I think families need to do that. I don't think we need a curfew in Lauderdale County."

"I agree wholeheartedly that's something the families should be doing but realistically that's not happening," said Hitt.

District 2 supervisor Jimmie Smith said he's not sure. "We need to talk about it and make sure that if this is something that we want to do we're going in the right direction and if it is not that we want to do cause like I said I don't know," said Smith. "I don't know that even if we passed it it would serve a significant purpose."

Sheriff Billy Sollie indicated he was in favor. "Could we catch every child that was in violation of this? No. We don't catch every DUI offender," said Sollie. "But how many children would it take getting caught and parents being made to come down to the sheriff's department before the word got out, as Craig said, and that parent saying, 'I'm not going down to the sheriff's department because you stay out too late ?You're going to come home.'"

The board instructed Sollie to check with counties that have curfews and report back as to their effectiveness. No vote could be taken today, since the work session is not a formal meeting.