Sex offender ordinance approvedRestrictions for convicted sex offenders in the Village of Hammond got tighter last Monday night. All six Village of Hammond Board members present voted in favor of approving a sex offender ordinance.
By: Laura Kruse, New Richmond News
Restrictions for convicted sex offenders in the Village of Hammond got tighter last Monday night. All six Village of Hammond Board members present voted in favor of approving a sex offender ordinance.
Section 46-35 of the village’s municipal code now reads, “Sex offender restricted zones within 150 feet of; and residency restrictions within 200 feet of schools, daycare centers, parks and other specified facilities and uses prohibited.”
Other specified facilities include churches, public and private parks, public library, public or private playgrounds, athletic facilities used by children (not including golf courses) and the school forest.
Sex offenders are prohibited from being physically present, loitering or using video, photography or surveillance equipment within the boundaries of restricted areas. A map of restricted spaces is available at the clerk’s office, located in the Village Hall, for informational purposes.
Offenders cannot hand out Halloween candy, appear in a costume at any event (such as dressing as Santa Claus) or invite unrelated minors into their homes.
Exceptions to the restricted zones include attending church services, attending his or her own child’s activities and voting in elections, if allowed to vote. The offender must give written advanced notice to the person in charge of such events. Exceptions for other events may be granted by the police chief or a special committee.
Sex offenders who are exempted from the new ordinance include those living in the village before the ordinance was approved on Nov. 9, an offender younger than 18 living with his or her parents, and an offender younger than 19 who is regularly attending high school.
If an offender violates the ordinance, monetary penalties have been established.
Village Attorney Tim Scott said the ordinance approved by the board has held up to legal challenges because of its conservative approach. Other more restrictive sex offender ordinances have been thrown out after challenges.
The ordinance was prompted by a request from Hammond Police Chief Rick Coltrain.
“Right now we’re OK,” Coltrain said. “You’re just trying to be proactive. The sooner the better.”
Ordinances are posted on the Village of Hammond Web site at www.hammond wi.org.
A search of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections Sex Offender Registry shows there are two registered offenders living in the 54015 ZIP code. The registry can be found at offender.doc.state.wi.us/pub lic.
In other news:
• The board decided to send the pedestrian access plan back to the Parks and Recreation committee, requesting that repair and upkeep of existing sidewalks be included in the plan. The plan includes possible future routes.
• The board voted 5-0 in favor of leasing a new folding machine and purchasing a new printer for the clerk’s office to be used for utility billings. Village Clerk Kelly Brett said the added equipment will save her and Deputy Clerk Mary Hemenway about 32 hours of labor a month.
• The board approved a resolution carrying over 2009 funds to the 2010 budget. Two accounts will carry over, but the exact dollar amount in each was not known at the meeting.
• The board set the 2010 Budget Approval and Public Hearing meeting for 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30, at the Village Hall.