CONYERS — City public safety officials reviewed ordinance proposals Wednesday, including a curfew for minors and regulation of special events, that the Conyers City Council will consider next month.
Conyers Councilman Cleveland Stroud serves as chairman of the council’s Public Safety Committee that met Wednesday. He led the discussion on ordinances proposed by the Conyers Police Department.
Police Chief Gene Wilson and Capt. Scott Freeman presented the three proposed ordinances regulating special events, curfew for minors, and parking on certain streets.
Wilson pointed to last spring’s rumored Ku Klux Klan rally as one situation where a special events ordinance could be needed. Potentially “unruly” demonstrations, like the KKK rally, could happen with as little as 48 hours notice under the current ordinance. The proposed ordinance would require 30 days notice — the same as the county’s ordinance, Wilson said. The proposed ordinance says, “constitutionally-protected activities” requiring street closing or compromising public safety response would require a 20-day notice. That would apply to counter protests.
Public demonstrations that are not blocking a public street or right of way, such as sidewalk picketing, would be exempt from the permit requirements. Small private gatherings on private property were also exempt.
The curfew ordinance would require minors to be inside or supervised between 9:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday. Hours are 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The ordinance allowed for some extenuating circumstances, such as a school-related or religious event. Wilson said the curfew was taken from the state law.
“But also, we added in there that the adults themselves who were allowing the children to be out could be cited and sent to Municipal Court,” Wilson said. “That’s really the big portion of this that’s a little different.”
Stroud brought up the issue of single parents who may work at night and may not know their children are out past curfew.
“I don’t think she (a single parent) should go to jail for that or be charged for that,” Stroud said.
The penalty for parents is up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail, if found guilty.
If the parents don’t know what is going on with their children, Wilson said the ordinance could act as an informant. Arresting officers would use discretion, he added.
“Under this law, at least it gives us the mechanism to go talk to the parent and then make that determination,” Wilson said.
Capt. Freeman said the parking violation ordinance would give officers the authority to request vehicle owners to move vehicles that present a public safety hazard.
In other discussion, crime analyst Kim Lucas presented a proposal to install two red light cameras at the Ga. Highway 138/Sigman Road intersection and three cameras at the Ga. Highway 138 and Dogwood Drive intersection, based on an assessment by American Traffic Solutions.
She said the system, including equipment, installation, maintenance, and monitoring, would be cost-neutral, making it a non-budget item for the city.
Councilman Marty Jones said at the meeting that he did not want the decision to be based on a “sole source” and wanted to explore other vendors.
City Manager Tony Lucas asked that the ordinances and the proposal to move forward with pursuing red light cameras be considered at the April 20 council meeting for a first reading and public hearing.