Council OKs ordinance prohibiting sex offenders from entering city parks
By BRUCE ALSOBROOK | News-Telegram Managing Editor
Oct. 3, 2007 - Registered sex offenders wouldn't be allowed in or near public parks in Sulphur Springs under a new ordinance approved on its first vote at Tuesday night's City Council meeting.
Sulphur Springs Police Chief Jim Bayuk told the council Lts. Rusty Stillwagoner and Bo Fox oversee sex offender registration in the city.
Bayuk said Stillwagoner had suggested the city develop an ordinance giving them the power to write citations on sex offenders who go into or loiter within 300 feet of a public park.
According to a database of registered sex offenders maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety, there are currently 40 sex offenders living in the 75482 Zip code area, and another 20 in other areas of the county.
"Right now, there is nothing preventing a registered sex offender from going to one of our parks," Bayuk said.
The ordinance, which Bayuk said was drawn up by City Attorney Jim McLeroy and is similar to established laws in other cities, would also prohibit registered sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare facility, park or playground.
A grandfather clause would allow registered sex offenders already living within 1,000 feet of those locations to maintain their current residences without penalty. Should they change locations, however, they would be required to meet the terms of the ordinance.
"They move around quite a bit," Bayuk said.
Violation of the ordinance would be a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500.
The motion was approved by the council by a voice vote.
Bayuk also asked the council to consider approving money to put up signs at local parks explaining the city ordinance.
Texas Department of Public Safety Sex Offender Records Search: