Chapter 9.06


9.06.010    Statement of purpose.

9.06.020    Definitions.

9.06.030    General prohibition.

9.06.040    Exceptions to general prohibition.

9.06.050    Enforcement of chapter.

9.06.060    Violations and penalties.

9.06.010 Statement of purpose.

The town council has determined that it is generally contrary to the well-being of minor children to be outside their residences in the late night and early morning hours unsupervised and with no specific purpose. It is also contrary to the health, safety, and welfare of the public and public property of the town to have minor children outside their residences in the late night and early hours unsupervised and with no specific purpose.

It is expressly the purpose of this chapter to provide for and promote the health, safety, and welfare of the general public and not to create or otherwise establish or designate any particular class or group of persons who will or should be especially protected or benefited by the terms of this chapter.

It is the specific intent of this chapter that no provision or term used in this chapter is intended to impose any duty whatsoever upon the town or any of its officers or employees, for whom the implementation and enforcement of this chapter will be discretionary and not mandatory.

Nothing contained in this chapter is intended nor shall be construed to create or form the basis of any liability on the part of the town, its officers, employees, or agents, for any injury or damage resulting from any action or inaction on the part of the town related in any manner to the enforcement of this chapter by its officers, employees, or agents. (Ord. 652 § 1, 2004; Ord. 536, 1994).

9.06.020 Definitions.

For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:

A. “Child” means an unemancipated person, male or female, who is not married and is under the age of 18 years.

B. “Emergency” means an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action. The term includes, but is not limited to, a fire, a natural disaster, an automobile accident, or any situation requiring immediate action to prevent serious bodily injury or loss of life.

C. “Errand” means to take a short trip to perform a specific task at the direction of the minor’s parent or custodian.

D. “Parent or custodian” means a person who is a natural parent, adoptive parent, foster parent, stepparent, or legal guardian of another person or a public or private agency that is the legal guardian of another person.

E. “Remain” means to fail to leave the premises when requested to do so by a police officer or the owner, operator, or other person in control of the premises.

F. “Returning home” means traveling, walking, biking or otherwise moving from the point of departure to a child’s home or the residence of the person having the care, custody or control of the child for that evening. Said movement shall be directly from the point of departure to the destination to be accomplished within a reasonable period of time.

G. “School nights” means any night or early morning hours immediately preceding a regular school day as scheduled by the Waterville School District. (Ord. 652 § 2, 2004; Ord. 536, 1994).

9.06.030 General prohibition.

Except as provided in WMC 9.06.040, no parent or custodian shall permit any child he or she is responsible for to remain in or upon the public streets, roadways, alleys, parks, playgrounds, or cemeteries, or in or upon private property other than the child’s usual place of residence which is unoccupied, vacant, abandoned, or is not otherwise supervised by a responsible adult:

A. From 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. the following morning, Sunday through Thursday nights; and

B. From 12:01 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings. (Ord. 569, 1996; Ord. 536, 1994).

9.06.040 Exceptions to general prohibition.

The parent or custodian of a child shall not be in violation of this chapter or the general prohibition set forth in WMC 9.06.030 when:

A. The child has been legally declared to be emancipated;

B. The child is married;

C. The child is accompanied by a parent or custodian, or is accompanied by a responsible adult approved by the child’s parent or custodian;

D. The child is engaged in lawful employment or is returning home from lawful employment;

E. The child is seeking emergency assistance;

F. The child is attending, going to, or returning home from, without any detour or unnecessary stop, an official school, religious, or other activity supervised by adults;

G. The child is in a motor vehicle and engaged in interstate travel with the consent of his or her parent or custodian;

H. The child is on an errand at the direction of the child’s parent or custodian, without any unnecessary detour or stop;

I. The child is on the sidewalk abutting the child’s residence or abutting the residence of a next door neighbor, if the neighbor did not complain to the police department about the child’s presence; or

J. The child is exercising First Amendment rights protected by the United States Constitution, such as the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and the right of assembly. (Ord. 652 § 3, 2004; Ord. 569, 1996; Ord. 536, 1994).

9.06.050 Enforcement of chapter.

Law enforcement officers for the Douglas County sheriff’s office shall have authority to momentarily detain and question a child where the law enforcement officer suspects violation of this chapter, and to determine whether a specified exception to the general prohibition may apply. Should a law enforcement officer have probable cause to determine that a parent or custodian is in violation of this chapter, said law enforcement officer shall have the authority to direct, accompany, or transport the child to his or her residence, if reasonably possible or if the circumstances indicate to take custody and place the child in accordance with RCW 13.32A.050(2) or RCW 13.32A.060 for the safety and in the best interests of the child’s well-being and welfare. (Ord. 536, 1994).

9.06.060 Violations and penalties.

A. Should a law enforcement officer determine that a parent or custodian has violated the provisions of this chapter, a written notice/ warning thereof shall be given to the parent or custodian if reasonably possible. If the parent or custodian is unavailable the officer shall mail, or cause to be mailed the aforementioned notice/warning to the parent or custodian. Said notice/warning shall inform the parent or custodian of the following:

1. The location where the child was found;

2. The date and time the child was found;

3. The location of the residence where the officer took the child for safety, or, in the case of placement of the child through Child Protective Services the telephone number of Child Protective Services; and

4. A warning that the parent or custodian was in violation of this chapter, a copy of which shall be attached to said notice/warning.

B. The law enforcement officer shall:

1. Maintain a record of any violation and the notice/warnings given as a result thereof;

2. Make a report of the incident to the Child Protective Services of the state of Washington; and

3. Assist Child Protective Services with respect to any reasonable and lawful action with which Child Protective Services requests assistance.

C. Any person violating this chapter for a second time shall be deemed to have committed a civil infraction and any such person found to have committed such a civil infraction shall be assessed a monetary penalty, which penalty may not be less than $50.00 nor greater than $500.00 for each offense. (Ord. 536, 1994).