By Gil McClanahan
HURRICANE - The city of Hurricane now has an ordinance banning registered sex offenders from city parks.
Mayor Scott Edwards said there were complaints that sex offenders were watching kids through binoculars at city parks. Police had no law to stop them from doing it, but Tuesday that all changed.
The ordinance creates a Child Safety Zone of 500 feet around parks, schools and other areas where young people get together. Mayor Scott Edwards remembers talking with a city officer about the problem of sex offenders.
- This shows the ignorance of the politicians passing these insane laws. There are binoculars that can see longer than 500 feet, so once again, this does nothing, except make those passing the law look like they are actually doing something.
"Sex offenders could pull into a park and watch a bunch of little kids play on the playground equipment. I asked him if it happened regular and he said all the time in the summer. He said they sit with binoculars and watch the kids," said Edwards
- I seriously doubt this. Wonder if he could provide proof of this nonsense? I doubt it.
"It makes me feel safer taking the kids to the park," said Chris Workman of Hurricane.
She and her two kids visit Valley Park in Hurricane on a regular basis. She welcomes the new ordinance
"When I go to the park I don't think there may be someone out there that could be watching my kids, but now with the bill if that were to happen I would feel safer," said Workman.
- What about those sex offenders who are wearing their invisibility cloaks?
"I think it's a good idea. I have a grandchild," said Sheila Stewart of Hurricane.
City council unanimously passed the ordinance Monday night and it immediately became law. Now city leaders are looking into the possibility of notifying registered sex offenders of the new ordinance, although they believe they don't have to.
"Many criminals slip through the crack everyday. We catch the ones we can and I will do everything I can to protect the kids," said Edwards.
- Then why not make a law that says kids cannot leave their own home, or remove the kids from their parents, since most sexual abuse is done by their own parents or close family?
Penalties for violating the ordinance are a $2,000 fine or 30 days in jail. We asked some area defense attorneys what they thought of the ordinance. Attorney Tom Peyton said the law seems like good public policy but enforcing it may be a different story.