From April 6, 2012 through September 30, Denver Safe City diversion officers and Denver police officers will team-up to run the Denver SafeNite Program. The program offers court diversion opportunities for youth 17 years of age and younger while police actively enforce Denver's curfew ordinance.
"We have an obligation to address the needs of our children and provide them with the best services and the safest neighborhoods possible," said Mayor Hancock. "As a city we know our responsibility lies on the outside of that school door where we must help to provide excellent programs that create a positive environment for all Denver's children."
Denver's curfew ordinance prohibits youth from being in a public place or on public property from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday, unless:
-The minor is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian (an adult friend does not qualify as a legal guardian)
-The minor is accompanied by an adult (18 or older) AND that adult is in possession of written permission from the parent or legal guardian
-The minor is in a motor vehicle being used in INTERSTATE travel
-The minor is working, traveling to work, or returning from work WITHOUT any detour stop
Youth that break curfew during the active enforcement period of April through September are transported to the Curfew Center housed at the District 1 police station at 1311 W. 46th Avenue. Their parents are contacted and a citation is issued.
"While it is our duty to enforce the city's curfew ordinance, we also care about the safety of the city's youth," said Chief of Police Robert White. "We want to send a clear message about the city's reasonable curfew expectations and help kids avoid a citation for being on the streets when they really shouldn't be."
Youth cited for a first time municipal ordinance violation are given the option of participating in a diversion program as an alternative to entering the court system. If the option is accepted by the youth and his/her parent(s), a customized diversion plan is developed based on an individual assessment. Once the plan is successfully completed, the case is dismissed without a court appearance.
"Programs that promote youth safety and reduce the number of youth that enter the legal system are vital to the strength of our communities," said Manager of Safety Alex Martinez. "Diversion options increase collaboration between parents and government and can lead to lesser consequences that still provide corrective behavior, when needed."
The Denver SafeNite Program was implemented in 1994 and is a joint effort between the Denver Police Department and the Denver Safe City Office, both of which reside in the Department of Safety.