Huachuca City bans sex offenders from public facilities
Mayor: "It's a bold step hopefully many will follow."
The town will be the first jurisdiction in Arizona to ban registered sex offenders from public places like schools, libraries and parks. Video by kgun9.comvideo
Off limits: sex offenders can no longer visit public facilities in Huachuca City
Huachuca City Mayor Byron Robertson explains why his town has banned sex offenders from public facilities
Reporter: Claire Doan
HUACHUCA CITY, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) – In a bold and unprecedented move for an Arizona jurisdiction, the town of Huachuca City is cracking down on registered sex offenders by banning them from all public facilities.
Mayor and council unanimously approved the ordinance last Thursday, which is set to take effect late October.
“As a town and as a community, we have to protect our children. As a council, we have to make the right calls,” Mayor Byron Robertson told KGUN9 News. “Our police chief indicated that we were having a serious problem with some pedophiles that were being a nuisance and we took steps to overcome that.”
The ordinance creates “child safety zones,” by banning all registered sex offenders from schools, parks, libraries, pools, gymnasiums, sports fields and sports facilities.
Sex offenders must pay $100 fine per violation; repeat offenders will be charged with trespassing.
Police say they’ll rely on tips from the community as well as heavy patrolling to enforce the ordinance.
“I don’t want to make it sound like Big Brother is watching, but we do have a file on sex offenders in the area, complete with photographs, so our officers will hopefully recognize them,” said Lt. Jennifer Fuller, a spokesperson for the Huachuca City Police Department.
Fuller said the impetus for the ordinance stems from a recent incident, in which a registered sex offender spent time loitering around the public pool and taking photographs, making parents and children uncomfortable.
Robertson said the town attorney modeled the ordinance after cities in other states, where the courts upheld the constitutionality of those laws, but added that Huachuca City is prepared for any legal challenge.
“We as a council decided that this is too big of an issue and a great concern for the community to let it fall by the wayside. If we are challenged, I believe our citizens will stand behind us 100 percent to protect our children,” Robertson said. “It’s a bold step hopefully many will follow.”
There are exceptions: Sex offenders may enter public facilities to pick up their children, vote in an election, or to discuss with someone their kids’ health or education.