Townships and boroughs across York County will be asked in the coming months to consider adopting a curfew law that would generally force children to be at home by 11 p.m.

The idea is being pushed by the York County Curfew Task Force, which met for the first time in the summer, said York County Sheriff Sgt. Brian Copenheaver, a member.

The idea behind the model ordinance is to create a countywide standard so that children know that if they are in a public place past 11 p.m. they are breaking curfew regardless of where they are, he said.

"The thought is it's going to be fair to the youth if there is a standard across the county," he said.

It would keep children from simply crossing into a more lax municipality to circumvent another's curfew, Copenheaver said.

School hours: Children would also be in violation of the ordinance if they are found in a public place during school hours, unless they have permission, are on vacation or meet other exceptions.

The model ordinance, which was endorsed unanimously by county commissioners on Wednesday, would call for graduated fines for the parents or guardians of children caught out after curfew.

They would face a fine of up to $25 for the first violation, up to $100 for the second and up to $200 for the third and each subsequent violation.

The ordinance provides some exceptions for children to be out after 11 p.m. For example, children who are attending a school or church-sponsored event wouldn't be subject to the law, nor would those who are working.


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Plus, they would be allowed to drive home after work.

Another key element of the proposal calls for fines for "establishments" that allow children to be inside after curfew. Operators would face a fine of up to $300 for each minor found inside.

Police support: With the commissioners' support in hand, Copenheaver said he plans to introduce the proposal to local police chiefs to garner their OK.

After that the plan is to send the proposal to all the municipalities in York County. With support from local police chiefs, Copenheaver said he's optimistic that municipalities will at least consider the idea.

The 11 p.m. curfew was selected after research into existing ordinances, he said, and data that shows children out after that hour are more at risk than those who are inside, he said.

Township supervisors and borough council members would be responsible for supporting or dismissing the proposal.

Uncertain: York City Council President Joe Musso said he's not sure whether an 11 p.m. curfew would be appropriate for the city, particularly during the summer.

The city's current curfew is midnight.

He would need input from local business owners, city residents and minors before coming to any conclusions, he said.

Musso acknowledged that some businesses in the city are allowing children to congregate past the city's curfew.

The city has no ordinance prohibiting them from doing so.

He would prefer businesses cooperate with the city and force minors to leave before curfew rather than put the council in a position to implement an ordinance forcing them to do so, he said.

But if need be, he would support such a measure, he said.

"I think there should be some responsibility on their part to do that," he said. "I don't think we should allow them to help these kids break the law."

-- Reach Carl Lindquist at 505-5432 or clindquist@yorkdispatch.com.
Local municipalities' curfew laws by time
The York County Curfew Task Force was created to devise a model curfew law for townships and boroughs across the county. The idea was suggested by city officials to the York County Truancy Task Force, which was established several years ago, according to York County Sheriff Sgt. Brian Coppenheaver.

The curfew task force surveyed curfews in place among many municipalities as part of its research.

Here's a look at what they found, although not all municipalities are included. The information was current as of September 2007. 
NO CURFEW
Chanceford Township
Codorus Township
East Hopewell Township
Fawn Township
Franklin Township
Heidelberg Township
Hopewell Township
Lower Chanceford Township
Manheim Township
Monaghan Township
North Codorus Township
North Hopewell Township
Peach Bottom Township
Shrewsbury Township
Springfield Township
Warrington Township
Washington Township
Crossroads
Dover Borough
Fawn Grove
Franklintown
Jefferson
9:30 P.M.
Lewisberry
10 P.M.
Newberry Township (minors 14-18)
Delta
Goldsboro (minors under 14)
Hallam (minors under 16)
Hanover (minors 11 or younger)
Wellsville
10:30 P.M.
Jackson Township (Sunday-Thursday)
Hanover (minors age 12 or 13)
11 P.M.
East Manchester Township (Sunday-Thursday)
Fairview Township (Sunday-Thursday)
Lower Windsor Township
Newberry Township (for minors 14-18)
Paradise Township
Penn Township (Sunday-Thursday)
West Manheim Township
Dallastown
Dillsburg
East Prospect
Glen Rock
Goldsboro (minors 14-18)
Hanover (minors 14-18)
Manchester Borough (Sunday-Thursday)
Mount Wolf (Sunday-Thursday)
New Freedom
North York
Railroad
Red Lion (Sunday-Thursday)
Seven Valleys
Spring Grove
Stewartstown
West York
Winterstown
Wrightsville
MIDNIGHT
Carroll Township
Conewago Township
Dover Township
East Manchester Township (Fridays and Saturdays)
Fairview Township (Fridays and Saturdays)
Manchester Township
Penn Township (Fridays and Saturdays)
Springettsbury Township
Spring Garden Township
West Manchester Township
Windsor Township
York Township
Felton
Hallam (for minors 16 to 18 years old)
Manchester Borough (Fridays and Saturdays)
Mount Wolf (Fridays and Saturdays)
New Salem
Red Lion (Fridays and Saturdays)
Shrewsbury Borough
Windsor Borough
Yoe
York City