June 2, 2010 11:01:00 AM
Tim Pratt -
In response to recent violence in the city, the Starkville Board of Aldermen is considering a curfew to keep young people off the streets.
The board Tuesday established a task force to investigate whether to institute a juvenile curfew in the city. Although still in the theoretical stage, Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins after the meeting said he would like the city to institute a midnight curfew on weekends for people under the age of 18, and a curfew that is "much earlier" on weeknights, though he didn''t speculate on possible weeknight times.
The move came in response to the May 23 shooting outside Club 124 on D.L. Conner Drive, which left one man dead and three others injured. The alleged shooter, Dennis Thompson, is 18, but three of the shooting victims were minors. The man who died, Curtis Randle, was 25.
Community member Dorothy Isaac has pushed the Board of Aldermen to institute a curfew as far back as this winter -- months before the shooting outside Club 124. Ward 7 resident Alvin Turner also has called for a curfew.
"This is what happens when you don''t listen to your citizens," Isaac told the board Tuesday night.
After the meeting, Isaac said she would like to see a midnight curfew for people under the age of 21.
"It will cut down on a lot of crime and let parents know they''ve got to take responsibility for their children," she said.
Perkins agreed with Isaac''s assessment and said it is "unfortunate" the board waited until the shooting outside Club 124 to investigate a possible curfew.
"The curfew ordinance is in response not only to what Ms. Dorothy Isaac has been promoting, but all of the senseless and violent activities that have been occurring in our community," Perkins said. "I feel there is a compelling need (for a curfew) because, at the latest, young people need to be off the streets by 12 midnight. There is nothing out there for these youth on our streets after midnight except trouble.
Perkins is on the task force investigating the need for a curfew, along with Mayor Parker Wiseman, Starkville Police Department Chief David Lindley, City Attorney Chris Latimer, Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill, a representative from the Starkville School District, a representative from the Mississippi State University Student Association and aldermen Richard Corey and Sandra Sistrunk.
Lindley said he wants to see what the task force discusses before giving an opinion on possible curfew times. He and Perkins are looking forward to the first meeting.
"We need to move forward with all deliberate speed to get this task force on the ground and running so hopefully we can make a positive recommendation (to the Board of Aldermen) as soon as possible," Perkins said.