Cuyahoga Falls City Council met Monday night to discuss a proposed curfew for minors along the riverfront.
During the last two summers, officers said they’ve seen an increase in the number of unattended minors and violent incidents, from the amphitheater, which host Rockin' on the River concerts, to the fountain near the entrance to Hibachi Japan.
“The idea wasn’t to necessarily ban people under 18 from coming down to the area, but rather have them come down with family members, with a parent, with an adult responsible for them,” said Police Capt. Jack Davis. “We really feel that by doing that it will increase the safety for all our visitors down there, especially the younger ones.”
During the public discussion, Cuyahoga Falls Police Chief Tom Pozza stepped up to the podium to address concerns regarding reported drug dealing, assaults and gang member profiling along the riverfront, especially in the area underneath the Portage Trail bridge.
“Last summer we had a couple of Akron police department gang unit detectives hook up with some of my officers down on the riverfront, specifically to identify gangbangers from the city of Akron,” said Pozza.
“We need to utilize this ordinance, not as a weapon to ban good kids from Rockin' on the River, but as a weapon just to keep the peace in order," he said.
See more of Pozza's comments on what he described as an "escalting situation" in the video linked to this story.
The curfew area under consideration is between Oakwood Avenue and Broad Boulevard, along the Riverfront Mall and boardwalk. Police recommend the restrictions for unsupervised children take place between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., within the curfew area.
Parents or guardians of juveniles cited for violating the curfew could face a fine of $50. If parents or guardians do not retrieve the youths at the police station within three hours, offenders could be placed in juvenile detention facilities.