Guest Column: Sheriff’s Curfew Sweep Lesson

By Bob Weston

Speaking of curfew sweep, I got home around 3:30 a.m. (on July 26) from volunteering with the Sac County Sheriff’s Department and working their curfew sweep for the Northwest region. All in all, it was a really fun evening.

We pulled in 49 kids – pretty evenly split between boys and girls. We had officers participating not only from the County, but from various area Park & Rec departments and the new Twin Rivers School District. The officers were responsible for detaining the kids and bringing them back to the curfew center where we processed them, took away their cell phones and called their parents.

For half the kids, we were able to get a hold of parents pretty quickly. It was nice to see them come down and rip the kids a new one, right there in the parking lot, in front of their friends. It caught me a little by surprise, but the girls they brought in had WAY more attitude than the boys.

When I was a kid, if I’d been picked up by the Police for being somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be, I’d have been terrified about the thought of my parents having to come out and pick me up. I certainly wouldn’t have been talking smack and giving the officers who’d picked me up a hard time. For a lot of these kids, it was all a big joke. Well, at least until their parents got there.

For the other half, lets just say it was obvious there was a real lack of parental involvement.

For example, when we called the father of the first young man brought in just after 10, he was already way too drunk to even think about driving a few miles to pick up his son. Sadly, this kid was 15 and already on probation. Seemed like a decent kid really, but there was an obvious lack of structure in his life. Mom was in Vegas with Grandma on a gambling binge and never even picked up her phone.

Three hours later, one of the Tactical Support units ended up having to take this boy and a couple others home to their parents because for one reason or another, they weren’t able to drive out and pick them up.

Another 17 year old boy we picked up after midnight while I was out riding with a Deputy had been left home for the summer while his mom was in Baltimore. He wasn’t out doing anything wrong, except riding his bike home along Watt Avenue after 10 p.m. Supposedly his Uncle was to be taking care of him, but he was nowhere to be found after dozens of calls and several voice mails.

I called the Mom a few dozen times too, but she never even picked up and her voice mail box was full, so I couldn’t leave a message. Despite his circumstances though, he really seemed to be a good kid. Well mannered, respectful, a starting football player who aspires to go to college and knows he can’t be in trouble if he wants to play. His uncle dropped him off earlier in the day at an Aunt’s house in Del Paso Heights and the only way he could get home was to ride his bike back to North Highlands with his cousins.

I really felt for this kid. He was a 5’10”, 160# strapping football player and scared like you wouldn’t believe. I don’t know what was worse for him, the fact he got picked up and it might get back to his coach or the realization that we almost couldn’t find anyone in his life that could come out and take him home. Anybody we could get a hold of either didn’t have a car or if they did, didn’t have enough gas in their tank to get there and back. Finally, he decided to let us call his girlfriend’s parents in Natomas. Fortunately, she and her Dad were able to come out and pick him up. He was the very last kid to go home – around 3 a.m.

What I noticed that was different about this kid from so many of the others was that he had something in his life he couldn’t afford to lose – Football. For him, Football seemed to be his ticket out to a better future.

When Captain Hahn was telling us earlier this month about the kids arrested in connection with the Home Invasions and Street Robberies, he mentioned that they didn’t have that something in their life they couldn’t afford to lose. This kid gave me hope that if we can find a way to provide it, we’ll have a much better chance at turning things around.

Bob Weston is a Regency Park resident and Neighborhood Watch leader. The curfew sweep he participated in was coordinated by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, Northwest Service Center in North Highlands.


  1. “I don’t know what was worse for him, the fact he got picked up and it might get back to his coach or the realization that we almost couldn’t find anyone in his life that could come out and take him home.” Gosh, Bob, this literally choked me up. Thanks for sharing your experience. I wish the best for this young man, and the other kids out there whose direction in life is unclear. I hope we as a community can continue to make a difference.

  2. Bob, that was a very thoughtful article. Thank you for being so involved and for sharing the stories of these kids with us. I am as “tough on crime” as the next person, but I think sometimes we can get into blanket generalizations and a bunker mentality that ultimately solves nothing. The problem is that SOME of these kids are victims of crap parenting, and while they do have to bear some responsibility for their own actions, a community like ours would be wise to offer sports, social, academic, and artistic alternatives for them to engage their minds and take up their time. If we don’t, we’re just raising the next crop of crap parents and/or inmates.

  3. Thanks for your time, effort, and reflection. As for the “idle hands are the devil’s plaything” problem (i.e. kids who seem to lack important outlets in their free time), I’m compelled to plug a Buzz post from earlier this week: the 25-acre sports park proposed by local little league and sports groups could help considerably. The organizers are still seeking members for their working group to make it a reality for the Regional Park.

  4. Keep the curfews going.

  5. Anonymous says

    Thanks for giving us faces so we can finally start giving a darn about the kids who need our time.

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