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New Smyrna Beach imposes year-round 11 p.m. youth curfew

New Smyrna Beach
Via online video
New Smyrna Beach Mayor Fred Cleveland supported a youth curfew, saying the City Commission must ensure safety and tranquility for residents.

The New Smyrna Beach City Commission on Tuesday night approved a permanent, year-round 11 p.m. curfew for people under 18.

The curfew comes after problems during Spring Break last year, when large crowds of teenagers flooding the city.

Some residents, including Black pastors, opposed the curfew because of impacts on local teenagers and possible trouble with police.

Pastor Kelvin Davis of Temple of Praise raised concerns about encounters with police.

"If we put in another law to give reason to pull an individual over because maybe they're a male, because maybe they're Black, because maybe they're 17 or 15 or 11, 12, whatever," Davis said. "I think we don't need to open the door to that."

The commissioners emphasized their confidence in police discretion but agreed to look back in October on how curfew is being used.

Mayor Fred Cleveland said the commission's job is to ensure safety and tranquility for residents.

"I do not think the cops are going to be prowling and looking around for trouble," he said. "They're going to find it. And where there is real trouble they're going to have the tools to act on it. I do not think this is a blank check to go out and lock down New Smyrna Beach."

The curfew comes with a $50 fine after the first warning and $100 fines or community service for parents who knowingly allow subsequent violations.

It includes several exceptions. For example, it won't apply to youths who are accompanied by a supervising adult, are homelss, are running an errand or responding to an emergency, or are traveling from work or a school, entertainment or religious event.

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.
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