Wednesday, March 20, 2013

WI - De Pere City Council Votes to Repeal Sex Offender Residency Ordinance

Original Article


By Jeff Alexander

De Pere - De Pere becomes the first community in Northeast Wisconsin to repeal its sex offender residency ordinance.

In a 5-to-3 vote last night, the city council moved to no longer limit where convicted sex offenders can live.

For the last three years, registered sex offenders in De Pere, unless approved by a city residency board, could not live within 500 feet of where children gather, like schools, parks and churches.

Now, that city ordinance is no more.

"Well I'm very happy, I think ultimately repealing our sex offender residency ordinance makes our community safer," says De Pere Alderman Scott Crevier, who led the charge to repeal the ordinance.

He says it all came down to listening to the experts.

"Our own police chief doesn't like the ordinance, if you talk to any of the local D-A's from Green Bay and Brown County, the folks from the Department of Corrections, they all say that having a sex offender residency ordinance makes it more difficult for them to do their job," says Crevier.

Alderman Mike Donovan says he's heard the argument that an ordinance can lead to sex offenders giving false addresses in order to live where they want.

But he's now concerned De Pere will attract convicted sex offenders, because surrounding communities still have their ordinances in place, which is why he voted against repealing De Pere's.

"If you rationale it out, you would think well people are going to move to De Pere because it's just an easier place to get a place to live," says Donovan.

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