By Tina Detelj
MONTVILLE (WTNH) - They're designed to keep children safe from sex offenders, but now Montville says their "child safety zones" may have to go.
Opponents say those zones could open the town up to a lawsuit, but residents who spoke with News 8 say they want those zones to stay.
The opening of the state's first sex offender treatment facility is causing a town to react again. Montville tried to stop it from opening, but when it opened anyway town councilors passed ordinances creating safety zones.
However, now petitions signed by as many as 600 people are calling for a second look at those ordinances which ban all registered sex offenders from town owned parks and its senior center.
"Even if they go to jail they're still going to be a sex offender when they get out," said Paul Chihocki, of Montville. "Once it's in you it's in you, that's what I think."
A couple of town councilors feel the ordinances designed to keep children and the elderly safe are well intentioned but very broad, which could open up the town to a possible lawsuit by the ACLU.
"If they look at it it's going to have to be individual every single individual case," said Bev Armstrong, of Montville.
"So it should be more specific or not have such a blanket policy," questioned News 8's Tina Detelj.
"Right, it's going to have to be more specific," said Armstrong.
The ordinances cannot be amended, so the petition gives councilors two choices: rescind the bans or send the question to voters.
Certainly councilors may have erred on the side of safety when they developed the safety zones, but now they may have to make sure they're not infringing on anyone's civil liberties.
News 8 talked to Armstrong and Chihocki because as residents the decision to rescind may be up to them.
"Sounds like it's not an easy answer," Detelj said.
"No no," Armstrong said.
"I've seen so many times a guy goes to jail, he gets out and the next day he's doing the same thing he went to jail for," Chihocki said.
- Prove it! I don't believe you!
The town council could decide its next step at its next meeting January 14th.