Tuesday, February 5, 2013

WI - De Pere sex offender ordinance may be dropped

Scott Crevier
Original Article

02/05/2013

By Maria Amante

The De Pere City Council may repeal an ordinance tonight that restricts where sex offenders may live within the city.

Alderman Scott Crevier requested the ordinance be repealed after a state Department of Corrections official’s testimony before the board last month, advocating repeal of the ordinance.

The whole idea behind our sex offender registry is flawed,” Crevier said. “We’re trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. We don’t have a problem with reoffense in our community. It’s not our problem to solve.”

The council will consider the request at its meeting at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Jed Neuman, supervisor of the Department of Corrections Sex Offender Unit, said such ordinances compromise what agents can do, making it more difficult for corrections agents to track offenders.

The ordinance prohibits offenders from living within 500 feet of places where children congregate.

Crevier and Police Chief Derek Beiderwieden have been longtime opponents of the ordinance, speaking against it since before it was on the books.

Beiderwieden was unavailable for comment Monday.

Crevier said some offenders who live in De Pere may report a different address to avoid violation of the ordinance.

Evidence shows any reoffenses that happen do not normally happen where the offender lives,” Crevier said. “No evidence shows that having them live somewhere else makes it any better. Having our ordinance has not reduced the number of sex offenders living in our area.”

If repealed, the council would provide the chief of police an advisory board to determine an appropriate level of public notification of designated offender residency in the city.

Several offenders were “grandfathered” in before the ordinance, allowing them to keep their residences even if they were in violation, Crevier said. Several more received exceptions from the council.

We can have an ordinance that doesn’t do anything... have an ordinance that’s not effective, but having an ordinance that makes problem worse is my concern,” Crevier said. “That’s what (Corrections) is telling us, that it compromises (their) ability to supervise those people. I want to help them keep us safe.”

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