July 22, 2014

Milwaukee aldermen OK limits on sex offender placements

See also: “Everyone around here is gonna be happy:” Common Council ordinance restricts were sex offenders can live"
7-22-2014 Wisconsin:

With barely a ripple of discussion, the Common Council voted Tuesday to approve a residency restriction ordinance that will severely limit where convicted sex offenders can live in Milwaukee.

The 8-6 vote was a shot across the bow to the state's Department of Corrections, which has resisted city pleas to stop placing sex offenders in Milwaukee.

City officials, citing state statistics, say more than 85% of all of the sex offenders living in Milwaukee County live in the city. They have urged Corrections Secretary Edward Wall to sign a letter asking Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to take legal action against municipalities that enact residency restriction ordinances, and find an equitable way to locate convicted sex offenders.

Mayor Tom Barrett also had urged Wall and Grace Roberts, who runs the state's sex offender program, to sign the letter. Common Council President Michael Murphy said he was surprised there was no debate on the issue and expected Barrett to sign the legislation.

Milwaukee is poised to join the 14 other communities in the county that have residency restriction ordinances. Hales Corners, River Hills, Shorewood and Whitefish Bay are the only county communities that do not have residency restriction ordinances.

Aldermen voting in favor of the ordinance were: Tony Zielinski, who was the lead sponsor, Bob Bauman, Joe Davis, Ashanti Hamilton, Milele Coggs, Bob Donovan, Jose Perez and Russell W. Stamper II. Voting against the ordinance were council members Jim Bohl, Robert Puente, Joe Dudzik, Terry Witkowski, Nik Kovac and Murphy. Ald. Willie Wade was excused.

The ordinance creates a residency restriction for designated sex offenders. A designated offender shall not establish a permanent or temporary residence within 2,000 feet of any school, licensed day care center, park, recreational trail, playground or any other place designated by the city as a place where children are known to congregate, under the measure.

Murphy said the net effect of the ordinance is few, if any, sex offenders will be able to live in Milwaukee.

Zielinski said he was not surprised by the quick vote.

"The state said to us, 'We're not going to help you out,' " he said.

"We have to do what we can to protect our citizens in the community," Zielinski said. ..Source.. by Don Walker

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