ROCKFORD, Ill. March 4 2017-- Cherry Valley Police say they spend a lot of time on Friday and Saturday nights at the mall because of incidents involving teenagers.
"I hope that the police calls go down on the weekends, free us up for other things going on in the village," says acting Sgt. Paul Seitz with Cherry Valley Police.
Cherryvale's new Youth Escort Policy hopes to make that possible for officers.
"As we took more and more input from our stores, from our shoppers, we thought this was the appropriate time to make this move," says CherryVale Mall General Manager Mark Peterson.
The mall calls unsupervised teens a "security challenge" and after two shooting incidents last year, they say it's time to make a change. Under the new policy on Fridays and Saturdays after 4 p.m., children under the age of 18 will not be allowed inside the mall without a parent or guardian 21 or older.
The mall says security guards will be at every entrance, stopping anyone who looks under the age of 18 and checking their ID.
"At first it's going to be a bumpy road for sure there will be kids that unfortunately are good kids that come to the mall, they shop, they have fun but you always have a few bad apples that spoil it for the rest," says Seitz.
Winnebago County Sheriff's deputies along with Cherry Valley police officers and mall security say they'll all work together to enforce the new policy.
That policy goes into effect Friday, March 17 at 4 p.m. Mall representatives say they'll have special badges printed for any teen who may work in the mall.
Authorities say if teens are caught inside the mall unsupervised, they'll be taken to the Cherry Valley Police substation at the mall and held there until their parents pick them up. If it keeps happening, police say the teen can be booked and banned from the mall for up to one year.