December 9, 2011

New ordinance prohibits registered sex offenders from entering parks

12-9-2011 California:

REDLANDS - A new ordinance adopted by the Redlands City Council prohibits registered sex offenders from entering city parks without prior written permission.

Unanimously approved by the council, the Municipal Code ordinance establishes city parks as "Child Safety Zones."

"This is one more effort we can take to keep our children safe in our local parks," Redlands Police Chief Mark Garcia said at the Tuesday night meeting of the council.

According to the staff report, "Sex offenders present a risk to public safety."

In accordance with section 290 of the California Penal Code, individuals of certain crimes are required to register as sex offenders, which ensures "that such offenders shall be readily available for police monitoring at all times because such offenders are deemed likely to commit similar offenses in the future."

With 93 registered sex offenders in the city, and 14 established parks with more than 143 acres of land in Redlands, according to the city's website, the ordinance is an attempt to protect children by restricting access to places where children may gather.

Anyone required to register as a sex offender who enters a city park without prior permission from the Redlands Police Department is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both, the staff report said.

"These people are a danger to children," said Lt. Chris Catren. "This is legal enforcement that helps keep them out of parks."

According to the report, the city will be required to post the prohibition at city parks, and give notice to registered sex offenders within the city, by mail or at the offender's next registration.

"This is additional protection for the children in our city," Catren said. "This gives us another tool to help monitor that classification." ..Source.. by Molly Davis, Staff Writer

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