WINNSBORO — The Town of Winnsboro has approved its attorney to draft ordinance to outlaw “sagging pants.”
Councilman Clyde Sanders noted that council looked at baggy pants and a dress code ordinance back in July 2012.
“I would like to get our attorney to look at what we can do to get the pants pulled up around the waist,” he stated. “It’s embarrassing to me to walk into Walmart or to walk down Main Street and have somebody holding their pants up just to take a step.”
Sanders noted that the problem has been progressively getting worse.
“A couple years ago it wasn’t so bad. They were just showing the top of their drawers,” he said. “But today it’s bad. Their pants are below the bottoms of their underwear.”
Sanders emphasized that if it was a female walking around showing her undergarments, then she would be arrested for indecent exposure. He suggested the town began to enforce some type of fine for the offense.
“I would like to see if there is something we could do as a council to pass an ordinance and get a dress code passed in the town because to me it’s embarrassing,” he said.
Councilman Danny Miller said he would support the ordinance, but questioned how it would be enforced.
“Law enforcement would be dealing with that all day long,” Miller advised.
According to Sanders, one town is charging $114 for such an offense. However, he believes that is a little high, but suggested if a police officer sees someone with their pants sagging, ask them to pull them up and if they don’t, write them a ticket.
“Doesn’t matter if it’s $10, write them a ticket,” Sanders said. “If you get very many tickets, you’re going to get the point and start wearing your pants like you’re supposed to. It’s not just Winnsboro, it’s everywhere, but it is happening here and Winnsboro is my town and maybe if we do something other towns will follow suit.”
Mayor Roger Gaddy echoed Sanders’ mission.
“I agree with you (Sanders),” Gaddy said. “I think it is disgraceful to see people walking down the street and they’ve got three-fourths of their underwear showing. To me it’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Gaddy noted that if families won’t accept responsibility, then the town can explore its foothold on creating an ordinance to prevent indecent exposure.
Miller requested the draft be diligent in specifying enforcement.
“If a file complaint what are the procedures and how do we enforce it,” Miller questioned. “Because I know we’re going to have a lot of complaints about it (sagging pants). I hope we look at the whole process of not just developing an ordinance but how we deal with the complaint side of it as well. Some of these folks don’t have a lot of respect for other citizens.”
Sanders cited that sagging pants is not allowed in the school system.
Although he is of the same opinion with council, Winnsboro Police Chief Freddie Lorick chimed in with a few suggestions for the crime’s punishment.
“If you’re going to entertain something like this it would be a nightmare for us,” he admitted. “But it would make it easier on us if you don’t make it a criminal violation. Make it a fine. Then we have a lot more to work with.”
Council did agree to have attorneys look into drafting an ordinance.