Albany may impose 6 p.m. events curfew (updated)

ALBANY, Ga. — The Albany City Commission is considering a special events curfew that would require anyone under 21 years of age to be in the presence of a parent or adult after 6 p.m. during downtown events like Mardi Gras, the 4th of July celebration and FlintFest.

Responding to violent incidents involving mostly teenagers at a number of recent community events, City Manager James Taylor proposed the extended curfew during the commission's work session Tuesday.

"Do I think this proposal is the answer to all our problems? No, I'd be idiotic to think that," Taylor said during a break in the meeting. "This is one option. One of the other options is to do nothing, and I refuse to do that."

Ward III Commissioner Christopher Pike was critical of the proposal.

"What we'd be doing is, essentially, turning our police force into a babysitting service," he said. "The problem here is our inability to manage a crowd, not the crowd itself. If we're going to do large-scale events, we've got to figure out how to manage crowds."

When Taylor mentioned that the Albany Police Department's resources were limited in trying to cover "the 54 square miles (of the city) 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year," Pike was not conciliatory.

"When APD comes to this table asking for something, the vote for approval is usually unanimous," he said. "I'd say what we've approved is in excess of $10 million since I've been here. I don't understand how their options (for enforcement) are limited."

APD Chief John Proctor said his department would have to "make adjustments" if the curfew ordinance is approved by the commission.

"We're the ones who have to be in front of these things," he said. "My hope is that we will be able to gain some kind of compliance through better education. I hope we find a mechanism where we don't have to sit and hold hands (of non-lawbreakers under the age of 21). I'd prefer that we concentrate on the actual lawbreakers.

"But what many here don't understand is that a lot of the kids (involved in recent incidents) are not from Albany. They were from Terrell County and Worth County and other places, and their parents just dropped them off and went elsewhere."

Like Pike, Ward II Commissioner Ivey Hines questioned the wisdom of such a restrictive ordinance.

"You're saying that no college students would be welcome at our events," Hines said. "That seems strenuous to me from a parent's perspective."

Acknowledging the strict nature of the ordinance, Taylor said there was wiggle room for alterations if the commission desired. Ward IV Commissioner Roger Marietta suggested lowering the curfew age from 21 to 18.

"The intent here is to make sure parents don't just drop off their kids," Taylor said. "If you want to loosen the standards, we can. But we're looking for the source of the problems that have existed at (recent) events downtown, and we've determined that that source is primarily the unchaperoned, unmanaged minors running around."

Businessman Sam Shugart, who is the driving force behind the Oct. 12-14 Georgia Throwdown at the Exchange Club Fairgrounds in Albany, said he planned to utilize the guidelines of the city's proposed curfew ordinance at that festival to make sure there are no such issues there.

"A lot of the people who caused these problems downtown won't be at our festival, but Chief Proctor and APD will have a unique opportunity to see a working model," Shugart said.

If the commission approves the curfew, which would be in effect on the days of special events from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. the following day, at its Sept. 25 business session, the ordinance would first impact the Oct. 6 FlintFest.


jglass 2 years ago

I agree with Pike, the APD seems to get everything they ask for! Now, how in the world will this curfew work, that is a good question. Will everyone under the age of 21 not accompanied by an "adult" be arrested? I am all for the curfew I just hope it works!


ontario1966 2 years ago

18-20 curfew? Are you kidding me? I see one heck of a law suit coming on! Albany your stupid!!!


stc1993 2 years ago

If 18 is the legal age I don't think this would pass constitutional muster.


Sherwood_Eagle_Alum 2 years ago

Can a 20 year old legally purchase alcohol? It's not a true curfew, they can be out, but need to be in the company of an adult.

I don't like this at all. This is about having a perception that the Albany City Commissioners are doing something to make Albany safe. Let's get the gangs off the streets first, and then worry about a curfew for adolescents.


billybob 2 years ago

I can't imagine this law would stand if challenged. A person age 18 or older in a public space has a legal right to be in public at what ever hour they want as long as they are not trespassing on private property. Do they really intend to tell a 20-year-old Marine at a public event he or she needs to go home because it's after 6 p.m.? Good luck with that.


VietVet1 2 years ago

LOL - what a game plan. Now that's a thumbs up...... laughter in the back ground.


JamesMalphrus 2 years ago

So.. The issue is that the police are ill suited to keep the peace at large events. So instead we'll be expecting them to card and remove everyone under the age of 21 at 6pm?

I think that this is a case of blowing smoke. Our politicians want to create the impression that they are trying to do something about the problem. But instead of dealing with the problem they're trying to treat the symptom. This issue is not an easy fix. And establishing this curfew is tantamount to idiocy.

There are more options than "Doing nothing," They're just being too lazy to look for them.


KaosinAlbany 2 years ago

You nailed it in your last sentence, James.


Abytaxpayer 2 years ago

I disagree with your last line..."too lazy" I say they are just "clueless"


JamesMalphrus 1 year, 12 months ago

Possibly... I try to give them a little credit. But that creates another thought. Does anyone have an Idea about how to combat the violence? I am considering speaking to the commission about this Law at their next meeting and would like to offer them more than: "This law is dumb, you can't enforce it, identify the problem instead of punishing everyone for the actions of the few." I'd like to point them to a better course of action.


TheMember 2 years ago

A classic case of "we can't control anybody' so hurt everybody. This is the dumbest law I have heard in a while. My 18 year old daughter has more control at a gathering than I do. The point, it's necessarily the age.


bigbob 2 years ago

So half of the marines from the base in Albany will be arrested if they come to an event in Albany because they are under 21. They are old enough to get killed protecting these fools but not old enough to attend a 4th of july event. These fools on the commision really do want the marine base to close i swear. DCSS is so bad they want their kids to go elsewhere, now their not allowed downtown after 6 if under 21. Just when you think the commision couldn't get any dumber they prove you wrong.


Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

Not to worry.....Eric Holder's DOJ will be dispatching agents down to Albany forthwith as this would constitute "Age Profiling" and would therefore be unacceptable, particularly since Obama is hoping for as many voters 18-21 as He can get.


VSU 2 years ago

A 20 year old marine is old enough to serve in the military but can't go to the fireworks without mommy and daddy. That's funny! Heck the ones below 18 I could understand that.


TRUTH101 2 years ago

SMH.........I may be wrong but are there not a few cops who are 20?


Momof3 2 years ago

You are correct... I guess they have to clock out at 5:59...


agonized 1 year, 12 months ago

Now THAT's funny, since the "rookie" cops are often stuck with the less desirable late night/early morning shifts.


Momof3 2 years ago

Albany has a curfew in place now that they DO NOT enforce so why even look at changing anything if you can't handle it now?


KaosinAlbany 2 years ago

Why punish those who are innocent because of the actions of a few? How about city commissioners aren't allowed at events past 6:00 p.m.? Y'all voted these idiots in office so now you are seeing just how ignorate they are. Good going Albany!!


KaosinAlbany 2 years ago

Put some of the code enforcement officers to work on the streets and maybe we will have enough cops to cover the city.


nofreeloader 2 years ago

Hypothetically, if this could happen , would they hand out a saggy pant citation along with it. Right........... Albany's officials are so out of touch..Beam them up Scotty We've given them all we got ,We cant take it any more!!!!!!


Abytaxpayer 2 years ago

Does Pike lay awake at night dreaming up his delusional comments? "The problem here is our inability to manage a crowd, not the crowd itself”. Nope that roving gang of kids is NOT the problem! But I guess if anyone should know about mismanaging something it is Pike. How many failed businesses and warrants now?


haryl87 2 years ago

This has to be the STUPIDEST thing that I've heard! How can you tell someone that is 18 LEGAL, someone that is eligible to vote and fight for our country that they need to be accompanied by their parents. So I can die for you all, but I can't come enjoy myself!!! This is defiantly telling college kids we don't want you at our functions and events. So what about the other places in the city that 18 can go at night? We need to put more thought into actual conducive things, because this isn't it. If you want a way to handle events in Albany, contact me I'll help you out. -Haryl Dabney-


Outtahere 1 year, 12 months ago

"The problem here is our inabilitiy to manage a crowd". What a joke! Just like Albany! Just like Bowtie, Riggins, Pike and Grapper! (Not to mention countless other incompentent city staff).


illb2cu 1 year, 12 months ago

Okay so let me get this straight:

  1. College students that come to this city and not go home on holidays will have to sit at home during fire works.

  2. Marines that server out country starting at age 18 will not be able to attend because they are assigned to Albany, and their parents are in Texas.

  3. The studnets that earn a honest living by working will have to leave work on those days by 6pm.

  4. As and 18 year old you seek their votes, but you don't want them outside on those dates because they are too young.

Now as a police officer, consider this:

  1. I am not even going deal with the comments about if the police ask for something, we give it to them that was from Pike. I just want to know how many commissioners that are on the board are former police officers that understand the day to day struggles of protection of others and protection of self?

  2. Suppose an officer notice a small crowd (of about 20) at one of these gatherings that are from ages 12-15, then let's say that each child's parent is at home. Here is the steps that that officer must follow before releasing that child under this STUPID local law. a. get enough backup to assist with handling the juvenile. b. Gather information from each juvenile. c. Attempt to locate a parent. (which could take over a hour) d. If the parent can't come to the child, take the child to the parent. e. notify that parent that the child is charged and in violation. f. release the child to that parent g. then do the departmental paperwork for the incident. Note that is for one child alone, and the process could take up to 2 hours per child.

My point is, I believe that the department is understaffed as of now. If we tie up officers following these step, we are doing nothing about the real problem. RYDC is not going to take them unless and intake officer approves. However if the detention center is full, they still have no place to go. Once all the officers get tied up doing this, where does that leave room for crowd control.



KaosinAlbany 1 year, 12 months ago

Or better yet, sign up to be on the agenda for next week's meeting and talk to them live and in stereo. Let your voices be heard people! They work for us not the other way around and they need to realize this and it is going to take angry mob after angry mob to finally get this point through to them.


Citizen_A 1 year, 12 months ago

I understand the underlying intention for this curfew....to curtail the "Riff-Raff" (I am calling it that since the gangs aren't the only ones who can ruin an event) that causes the problems. What they fail to understand is that the Riff-Raff causing problems are not first generation Riff-Raff. Otherwise we wouldn't be having the problem to begin with.


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