Keep in mind, this man is up for re-election, so like clockwork, out comes the "tough on sex offenders" issues.
By Faith Abubey
Benton alderman Brad Moore wants to push sex offenders out of his city.
The city council member, Brad Moore, is proposing an ordinance he hopes will make the town "undesirable" for sex offenders.
Moore says he's looking into a proposal that will require sex offenders to place "all weather/permanent" signs on their lawns. The signs will make it apparent to passers-by that a sex offender lives in the home.
But even in its early stages, community members have mixed feelings about the idea.
A level-two sex offender's week-old move the Benton community off Aaronfield Road has cast some uneasy feelings among some neighbors.
Paula Bowers says, "I'm not real happy about it. But it is America; he has the right to live as long as he leaves my kids alone."
Neighbor Harold Jeffcoat Sr., along with Joanie Morrison, say they don't like it either.
Morrison has three children under age seven and says the offender's history of raping a 6 year-old worries her.
"I'm not going to let them just play out without somebody right on the porch. I'm not fixing to leave them just like that," said Morrison.
According to police, there are currently 53 sex offenders in Benton.
Community members who live within a two-block radius of each offender have all been notified. There's also an online registry with public information.
Moore believes it's not enough.
"I suggest that we consider an ordinance that will require an all weather/permanent type sign placed in their yard wherever a sex offender resides," he said.
Moore says he plans to aggressively push the proposal if the city attorney deems it constitutional.
"The intent of my proposal is to make the city of Benton an undesirable location for sex offenders to call home," Moore said.
Ward 1 Alderman, Larry Wolf, says he has no problem discussing a proposal of the sort but he sees several problems with the idea.
"If you start putting signs in people's yards you're going to make them a target, also. Certainly folks, regardless of their past have a right to leave," he said.
But even with the concerns some in the community have raised over the lawn signs, Morrison says she's for anything that'll keep her children safe.
"It'll be sort of violating their privacy but at the same time they kind of gave up their rights for anything when they did something like that to a child," she said.
- You are assuming all sex offenders are child molesters as well, like usual!
Moore has drafted a letter to the Benton Public Safety Committee chairman to consider the proposal. The city attorney will have to look into the legality of it.
You can read the letter here.
The alderman has sighted a Texas City, Corpus Christi which is currently implementing the requirement. Police