With school starting Monday, Pine Bluff police say they will be strictly enforcing the juvenile curfew.


Police Chief Ivan Whitfield said he will be meeting with the superintendents of all three school districts within the Pine Bluff city limits and will ask them to give each student and teacher a letter listing the hours of the curfew.


“We’ve been kind of lax in the past in enforcing the curfew, but that is going to stop,” Whitfield said. “Any student that we catch off campus or that drives off campus will be subject to being charged with a curfew violation. Those that drive off can also have their cars towed.”


The ordinance provides that the juvenile curfew during school days is 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.; Sunday through Thursday from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., and from midnight to 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday.


“This initiative will help in our endeavor to keep the crime rate down, keep our children safe and assist and encourage our children to get a good education by staying in school,” Whitfield said.


Whitfield said the effort is a part of the department’s Stay in School Imitative, and “we’re going to do whatever it takes to see that the kids stay in school so that we don’t have to respond to an incident involving kids that were skipping.”


He said that on Monday, when classes begin, officers, including members of the command staff, will be on school campuses to welcome the students back. Those officers will supplement School Resource Officers who are already assigned to various campuses throughout the city.


“We’re just asking them (the students) to do the right thing and don’t violate the curfew,” Whitfield said. He also is asking parents, teachers and members of the community to pass the word about the strict curfew enforcement to students who may be affected.