This is exactly like the Halloween mass hysteria that is carried out each year.
By Scott Waltman
A measure that would keep sex offenders away from the fairgrounds during the annual Brown County Fair likely will be considered by county commissioners in the weeks to come.
Larry Lovrien, Brown County state's attorney, proposed the resolution. Commissioners took no action during their Tuesday meeting.
There are many fair events, from 4-H activities to carnival rides, that are geared toward children, he said. At the same time, there are vendors and volunteers who work at the fair who are on the sex offender list, he said. The aim of the proposal is to keep the fairgrounds safe for kids.
To accomplish that, Lovrien suggested that commissioners consider declaring the fairgrounds a public park or playground each year during the fair. After the fair, the grounds would cease to be a park or playground, according to a sample resolution he gave commissioners.
Were the fairgrounds to be declared a public park or playground, it would be considered a community safety zone, Lovrien said. By law, sex offenders aren't allowed within 500 feet of community safety zones.
Lovrien said there hasn't been a way for the sheriff's department to address the problem of sex offenders at the fair in past years. But he also said it's not his intent to have those people arrested the first time they're spotted at the event. He said he would ask the sheriff's office to tell sex offenders to leave the first time. If there were subsequent problems, they could be arrested and charged, he said.
Under Lovrien's proposal, signs designating the fairgrounds as a community safety zone would be put up at entrances during the fair to deter sex offenders from going on the grounds.
There are some details that would need to be worked out with the resolution. For instance, Lovrien said, the 500-foot restriction would impact a housing development just north of the fairgrounds. But, he said, he thinks a solution could be found for that problem.