On Friday, August 1, 2014, the Vineland, Millville, and Bridgeton Police Departments and their Chaplains, and the Family Success Centers of Vineland, Millville, and Bridgeton took part in a non-punitive curfew sweep. CCPYDC organized this sweep with coordination through WRI and the Prosecutor’s Office.
In Millville, the sweep began promptly at 9:00 pm when the curfew went into effect. Daily, Millville’s curfew runs from 9:00 pm to 6:00 am. In Vineland and Bridgeton, the sweep began with the curfew start time of 10:00 pm. Bridgeton’s regular curfew runs from 10:00 pm until 6:00 am, with an 11:00 pm beginning time for those who are 17 years old. In Vineland, curfew for those 13 and under begins at 10:00 pm. On Friday and Saturday nights, the curfew for juveniles 14 through 17 years old begins at 12:00 am and from Sunday through Thursday it begins at 11:00 pm. Bridgeton’s curfew ends at 6:00 am and Vineland’s curfew ends at 5:00 am.
Through the hard work and effort put forth by the CCPYDC, the sweep was a rousing success. In total, 26 juveniles were picked up for curfew violations and brought to neutral family success center locations throughout Cumberland County. Rather than receiving a citation for curfew violations and being brought to police stations, juveniles were taken to neutral locations while parents were contacted by police dispatch. At the neutral locations, Police Chaplains and staff members of IMPACT Family Success Center of Vineland, Holly City Family Success Center, and the Greater Bridgeton Family Success center spoke to juveniles and their parents regarding the dangers of being out past curfew. The sweep was meant to act as an educational tool rather than as a punitive measure. In addition to educating a large number of people, Chaplains and staff were able to provide the contact information for a large variety of family and juvenile services throughout Cumberland County. Staff members and Chaplains were assisted in this process because the juveniles took part in voluntary intake surveys after they were brought to the centers. The family success centers have extra copies of this information so that they may keep providing it to those in need, in addition to providing continuing services to those juveniles and families who requested them during the sweep.
The sweep itself occurred throughout the municipalities of Vineland, Millville, and Bridgeton with a protocol in place to ensure that operations ran smoothly with so many differing parties involved. In Vineland, 6 juveniles were brought to the IMPACT Family Success Center. In Millville, 10 juveniles were brought to the Holly City Family Success Center. In Bridgeton, 10 juveniles were brought to the Greater Bridgeton Family Success Center. In addition, as part of the sweep, police recovered a hand gun and two knives.
The youth were all educated on the curfew ordinances in their respective municipalities at the family success centers. Of the 26 juveniles, 15 juveniles were aware that curfew ordinances were in place, and 10 were unaware. 1 juvenile was omitted from this data. Specifically in Millville however; 6 of the 10 juveniles were aware of the curfew, but 4 juveniles mentioned a belief that the curfew was at a later time. Millville’s curfew ordinance had previously been 10:00 pm, but these juveniles were unaware of the change to 9:00 pm.
The Cumberland County Curfew Sweep was a success through multiple lenses. Organizations such as the Department of Child Protection & Permanency were not required to handle any issues relative to abuse or child endangerment. There were no reported incidents at any of the family success centers. Police Officers were able to strike the perfect balance between their duties and the overarching goal of providing an educational opportunity for the juveniles. They were able to build connections with juveniles through community policing. Millville Chaplains were deployed in bulk for the first time since the Chaplaincy Program’s recent inception. Chaplains for all three municipalities did an outstanding job of connecting with the juveniles and their families and performing their necessary duties. Staff members at the family success centers also did an outstanding job at relaying relevant service information to juveniles and their families.
Through careful planning and the joint efforts of the CCPYDC and the various personnel involved in the sweep, the Coalition was able to make an immediate impact in addressing juvenile safety concerns through an educational event. CCPYDC was also able to provide relevant service information directly to those who required it.