Mississippi Town Declares War on Baggy Pants

50 signs ordered by Laurel police department to combat saggy trousers
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2015 10:00 AM CST

Take heed, young people of Laurel, Miss. Law enforcement is ready to fight the scourge in your town: saggy pants. The police department is set to adorn the town with 50 signs that read, "Pull up your pants. No one wants to see your underwear," with a pic of a young man sauntering down the street sans belt, WDAM reports. Police Chief Tyrone Stewart says they're "trying to bring awareness to our young people" about the proper way to dress. "You see [them] coming to court ... with their pants hanging below their buttocks," he says. "That's disturbing because that's something these young people should have learned at home." Mayor Johnny Magee agrees. "I grew up in an era where we were taught to dress neatly," he says. "Now everybody wants to ... walk around anyway they want to, and they say it's their freedom. … Those are not the freedoms [the revolutionary fathers] were talking about."

Magee says saggy trousers have been on his mind for some time. "I used to do a newsletter every month," he says. "Pretty much every month, I had … that you need to pull your pants up." The problem, as WDAM notes, is the town purchased the signs with taxpayer funds, but there's no ordinance against that type of dress (Stewart says they're working on one). But he cites a state indecent-exposure law and says other Mississippi towns have such bans. An ACLU statement referring to one of those bans said in 2012, "Banning saggy pants in public is an affront to the Constitution and puts people at risk of being arrested for behavior that offends some people's sensibilities, but is not criminal." Magee—who compares offenders to "stray dogs"—notes one group doesn't mind such ill-fitting attire. "I talked to a police officer in Atlanta," he says. "He said they love it because as soon as [suspects] start running, they can't run." (Remember this guy?)

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