The law enforcement departments picked up 52 youngsters between ages 12 and 16 early Saturday and Sunday, said Barbara Willingham, senior probation officer for the Floyd County Juvenile Court.
The state curfew law says juveniles under age 17 must be with a parent or guardian when out between midnight and 5 a.m., Willingham said.
“It’s the law and it was made by the people of Georgia,” said Maj. Mike Ragland of the Rome Police Department.
Enforcement of the law drew a complaint from one business owner.
Gary Greer, owner of Late Night Amusements, 1702 Shorter Ave., said officers came into his game room and arrested three teen-agers.
“They weren’t outside loitering,” said Greer, who has owned the game room for almost 13 years.
“I’m concerned because these kids haven’t done anything wrong.”
Ragland said the law doesn’t apply just to teen-agers walking the streets but covers those in public places, including stores or game rooms.
Willingham said many adults seemed unaware of the curfew.
“Many parents wanted to know when this law went into effect,” said Willingham, a 13-year veteran of the juvenile court. “I don’t know when exactly, but it’s been a law as long as I’ve been working here.”
She added reaction from parents was mixed.
“Some were very supportive, but others were griping about their kids getting picked up,” said Willingham, who added that the parents of the youngsters picked up could have been charged with neglect, although none were.
Rome police officers picked up 42 teen-agers between midnight and 3 a.m. Saturday and arrested 10 more between midnight and 2 a.m. Sunday.
“This was a lot more than we expected,” said Willingham.
Of those picked up, 41 were released to their parents and face a hearing in juvenile court.
Willingham said the other 11 were taken to the Youth Detention Center.
Willingham said some were already on probation, which meant their curfew was actually 9 p.m.
“Our goal was to get the kids on probation,” said Ragland, although Willingham said teen-agers not on probation but still in violation of the curfew also were picked up.
Willingham said two teen-agers admitted to smoking marijuana, two admitted to drinking alcohol and two more had knives on them.
No drugs or alcoholic beverages were found on the teen-agers.
Ragland said the department has received complaints about teen-agers loitering and being on the streets late at night and approached Willingham with the idea.
“We decided the weekend before school started would be a good time to do it,” Willingham added