FORT MYERS - Soon the City of Fort Myers could be enforcing tougher restrictions on registered sex offenders.
A new ordinance will go in front of the city council Monday afternoon that would establish child safety zones that would keep sex offenders at least 300 feet from parks and schools with few exceptions.
Offenders can face jailtime and fines if they are caught disobeying the ordinance.
The state already restricts sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of many public places where children may be present.
"The term sex offender casts fear when you say it. It triggers a primal response to protect our children," says Maria Kayanan, an attorney for the ACLU of Florida.
Kayanan believes the new ordinance is a plot to put sex offenders back in jail and push them out of the community. But it's something she says could have bad consequences.
"When laws are enacted that so overregulate and so overreach an individual's every movement, that's not good for that individual and will likely drive him or her off the grid, underground and outside the supervision of law enforcement, making the children in our communities less safe," she says.
While in the ordinance, the chief of police insists it's another layer to keep the city's children safe.
- So how many layers do you need? A million layers won't prevent someone intent on committing a crime from doing so. This is just more political BS to help someone look like they are actually doing something.
Lee County already has "child safety zones." This ordinance is nearly identical to the county ordinance.
The council will vote to advertise the ordinance on Monday. It will then go up for a public hearing at a later meeting.