DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit police are looking for volunteers to help with this weekend’s River Days festival and Monday’s annual fireworks show after the city council struck down a controversial extended curfew for youngsters.
In a posting on their Facebook page, police say they are searching for exceptional community members to serve as the department’s “eyes and ears,” looking for anything suspicious during the busy weekend events along the Detroit riverfront.
Police are inviting anyone who is interested to attend an orientation meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Detroit Public Safety Headquarters, located at 1301 Third Street.
If you want to help out but can’t make the meeting, give police a call at 313-550-9817 for more information.
City Council members on Tuesday voted against an emergency ordinance that would’ve required anyone age 17 and under to be accompanied by a parent or guardian from this Friday night through the annual fireworks show on Monday night. The extended curfew would have been in effect from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. for River Days, Friday through Sunday, June 19-21; and for the Freedom Festival fireworks over the Detroit river, Monday, June 22, from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m.
Instead, council members said they would allow the curfew on Monday only, as in years past. If youth are caught unsupervised Monday night, they could be detained and their parents fined upwards of $500.
The possibility of extending the curfew drew opposition from many who said it unfairly criminalizes youth and essentially places them under house arrest. Police maintained that they were pushing for the extended curfew out of safety reasons.
“We want to stay focused on public safety and that’s it. We’re reaching out to the communities saying, ‘Look, we don’t want to detain young people but we are going to hold parents responsible,'” Police Chief James Craig told WWJ’s Vickie Thomas.
“It’s no secret that we’ve had problems in the past and we shouldn’t ignore this, and certainly it would be irresponsible of me and the police department to ignore it,” Craig continued. “Point one is this, we welcome all young people. All we’re saying is can we have some help, some supervision help [by the parents]?”
Last year, Detroit police officers detained more than 100 minors for violating the citywide curfew during the fireworks. The juveniles, who arrived by the busload at the city’s Southwest Precinct, were held overnight until their parents arrived to take them home.