Selma leaders considering saggy pants ordinance

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

SELMA, AL (WSFA) - Ask most folks around Selma what they think of saggy pants, and you'll probably get the same response.

"I think it's a disgrace," says Betty Ross.

Ross has two kids and tries to stress proper dress.

"When we were buying their clothes, ya know, you have that say so. When they buy their own, make sure you have on a belt, make sure those pants are pulled up."

That's why she and many other residents are anxious for the city council to pass a saggy pants ordinance.

"It's not appropriate for children to see that and have to look at that," says Selma resident, Sheldon Harigel.

A draft of the proposed ordinance states everyone should be properly dressed when in public view.

If violated, residents could be fined, or required to do community service.

"I've had a lot of citizens to stop me and ask me when was this ordinance going to be passed?" says District Attorney Michael Jackson.

Jackson urged the council to consider the ordinance claiming gang activity is often associated with sagging pants.

"They wear the colors in their underwear, and t-shirts."

"The way people dress or showing their undergarments to some is offensive," says City Councilwoman, Dr. Monica Newton.

Newton still wonders about enforcement.

"You don't want to infringe on people's civil liberties, but you also want to address issues of crime and public safety."

Residents think putting it on the books will be enough to convince some to pull up their pants.

"I think if it would make our community safer, it would not interfere with any civil liberties," says Harigel.

Selma city leaders looked to other cities like Demopolis for help in drafting an ordinance. The Demopolis city council passed a similar law a year ago and have had 12 cases so far.

City council members expect to discuss the ordinance further at next week's council meeting and believe it will be passed.

It could be on the books by early next year.

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