OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The curfew was set for a public hearing Tuesday with a vote on March 14, but it was instead voted on Tuesday by emergency resulting in the approval of the 9 p.m. curfew change.
Since 2006, the curfew in Bricktown for unaccompanied minors has been 11 p.m. However, it’ll now be 9 p.m. – 6 a.m. seven days a week.
The curfew will go into effect immediately starting Feb. 28.
The citywide curfew for minors will remain from 12:01 a.m. to 6 a.m. Mon. – Fri and 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. Sat. – Sun.
Several businesses signed up to speak on the curfew proposal during the council meeting on Tuesday.
The General Manager of Harkins Theaters, Jenny Lawrence told the board she was in full support of the proposed change.
“We fully support the change to the curfew for a number of reasons. Mainly, we get a lot of middle school age kids hanging around. They don’t come to Bricktown to come to our theater. I don’t actually see them doing a lot of business in the Bricktown area. They just want to hang out. They tend to get into large groups and then frictions happen, fights break out and that sort of thing,” explained Lawrence.
Bricktown Brewery Managing Partner, Charles Stout also staked his support for this proposal.
Stout told the board the earlier curfew would provide a safer environment.
“In my fair observation, the presence of unaccompanied minors in the Bricktown area does nothing for business. It does nothing for revenue. It does nothing for tax dollars. It only provides an unsafe environment for those very same teenagers. We are enabling them to create an environment where violence can happen. As you well know, violence is happening and I’m afraid it will continue to happen,” said Stout.
Even the CEO of the Bricktown Water Taxi, Chad Huntington told the board he’s in agreement with Stout and Lawrence.
Despite being a kid-friendly service, Huntington said unaccompanied minors only serve as a distraction to officers watching over the Bricktown nightlife.
The board then had an open discussion with one another before taking a vote.
Some members like Vice Mayor JoBeth Hamon and James Cooper said they feared this may not make a difference and will instead hurt the very children they aim to protect.
Hamon and Cooper both voted against the curfew change while the other seven voted yes.
“This ordinance does not affect unattended minors who are at work, or who are going directly to and from work, or who are on their way to or from an event such as a movie or ballgame,” said Assistant City Manager Jason Ferbrache. “If the event ends after 9 p.m. minors are not allowed to hang out in the area unattended. The intent of the curfew is safety.”
The earlier curfew is supported by the Bricktown Association Board.
The curfew requires police officers to ask the juvenile’s age and reason for being in the area before taking enforcement action. It also provides exceptions to enforcement including, but not limited to, when the juvenile:
- is with a parent or responsible adult
- is working or returning to or from work
- is attending, going to, or returning home from an event
- is going to or returning home from an official school, religious, or recreational activity supervised by adults
- is involved in an emergency
The curfew area includes Bricktown and Lower Bricktown all the way to the Oklahoma River.
Violators are subject to a class “a” offense, which requires a mandatory court appearance in Oklahoma City Municipal Juvenile Court.