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Pull ‘em up or pay a fine?

Cairo Police Chief Keith Sandefur and the Cairo City Council will huddle together in two weeks to discuss a proposed new city ordinance that will outlaw low hanging or saggy pants and skirts below the waist.
This is an issue city leaders have batted around before, but after hearing from many residents about a desire to combat this undesirable fashion trend, City Attorney Thomas L. Lehman was instructed to draft a proposed ordinance to prohibit saggy pants in the city limits of Cairo.
Cairo Mayor Richard VanLandingham presented councilmen copies of the proposed ordinance Monday night and said at the Sept. 24 meeting the police chief would be present to discuss enforcement of the ordinance.
The mayor said that the proposed ordinance not only deals with pants and skirts worn below the waist but also other forms of public indecency.
“The chief is in favor of it and thinks it is something that should be dealt with. Be prepared to discuss it with him to make sure everything is done in a proper way,” the mayor said.
The proposed ordinance is patterned after similar ordinances adopted by the city councils of Albany, Bainbridge, Dawson and Donalsonville.
“This is something that has become a bigger issue for a lot of people. We must decide if we should deal with it as a city,” Mayor VanLandingham said.
According to the proposed new ordinance, “It shall be unlawful for any person to appear in public wearing pants, shorts, or skirts more than three inches below the top of the hips (crest of the ilium) exposing the skin or undergarments.”
Law enforcement officers will instruct violators to pull up their pants, shorts or skirts and, if they comply, the warning will be the penalty for the violation. Failure to comply will result in a minimum $25 fine and subsequent violations will carry a fine of not more than $200 for each subsequent offense.
“This is not just about saggy britches, it also strengthens other sections of our disorderly conduct ordinance. I believe it is something we need to do,” Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton said.
Cairo’s city manager also acknowledges that city police do not have lots of free time to patrol for saggy britches, but he says the ordinance is a law that should be on the books so officers can make cases when possible.
City officials have also discussed the proposed ordinance with Municipal Court Judge Joshua C. Bell.
The Grady County Board of Commissioners last year discussed the prospect of an ordinance and city and county leaders discussed the possibility of adopting similar ordinances.
Grady County commissioners have not discussed the issue since last August.
The Cairo City Council will take up the proposed ordinance at its Sept. 24 meeting beginning at 6 p.m. in council chambers located inside the Roddenbery Building on North Broad Street.

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