VILLE PLATTE -- A walking curfew went into effect Friday evening in the City of Ville Platte, and residents have been warned they will be cited for violating it.
The curfew will not affect those walking home from work as long as they walk straight home after completing their job duties and are abiding by all other ordinances, police said.
On Friday night, the Ville Platte Police Department, during regular patrols of the city, made sure the curfew was being enforced.
Officer Thomas Howell (whom this reporter rode with) stopped a cyclist at 9:30 p.m. because he had no reflectors or a light on his bicycle. He was riding down Main Street.
After establishing the man’s identity, Howell learned the man was a few blocks from his home. Howell spoke with the man about purchasing reflectors for his bicycle and to wear reflective clothing when riding after dark.
At 9:35 p.m., Howell spotted another cyclist using the turning lane of U.S. 167. The man had no reflectors or reflective clothing. Officer Howell learned the man had just left his job and was on his way home. He encouraged the man to purchase the necessary safety equipment for his bicycle and to wear reflective clothing the next time he rode his bike after dark. The man promised to do that right away.
A few minutes later, one of the officers made a stop on Jean Duos Road. He reported the vehicle had police lights on it. He discovered Mayor Jennifer Vidrine, who was riding in town making sure the curfew was being followed by her constituents.
Later, Vidrine commended the officer. She said he was doing his job when he stopped her. Vidrine said the community was adhering to the curfew. She said comments have been positive.
On Saturday, Vidrine said she received several calls from residents who said it was easy to return home Friday evening because there was no walking traffic standing on corners or blocking their driveways.
She said often residents complain these pedestrians refuse to move when they attempt to turn into their driveways or navigate the streets.
Vidrine also spoke with students who attended a school dance at the Martin Luther King Center. She said the students told her the officers came in-and-out of the center to make sure they were staying inside.
When the officers arrived at the closing of the dance, she said students said officers watched them as they left the area and warned them they had 30 minutes to make it home. She said many students said they felt safe on their way home.
On the ride-a-long, Officer Howell and his fellow officers visited the teen dance several times during the evening until the dance closed shortly before midnight.
Shortly after 10 p.m., officers were called to Jackson near its intersection with Chataignier when officers noticed someone in the street. Officer Howell was enroute when he saw three people walking in the opposite direction. He stopped those three. A woman said her home was two doors down and two young men, carrying food, pointed to a house about half way down the block. Howell warned all three about the curfew, checked their IDs and sent them home.
After leaving the dance at 11:18 p.m., Howell backed up Officer Lucas Griffin at the intersection of Dupre and LaSalle. A man was walking the street. After speaking to the man, a citation was issued.
At 11:54 p.m., Howell stopped a man walking on Martin Luther King Street and asked him why he was walking the street. He pointed toward his home and said he was walking across the street to his cousins. After warning him of the curfew and identifying him, the man was allowed to return home.
The officers will continue to enforce curfew and the ordinance of reflective clothing.