West Haven City Council held a public hearing last night to discuss the adoption of a new ordinance that would ban registered sex offenders from the townâ€™s public beaches and parks.
The proposed ordinance would create new â€œchild safety zones" throughout the city.Â Registered s ex offenders would be fined $100 dollars if caught entering the zones.Â Â Most residents at Monday nightâ€™s public hearing supported the idea.Â Councilman at large John Coppola. Â
"Sometimes you have to limit the rights of a few to protect the weak.Â And thatâ€™s what weâ€™re doing.Â Thatâ€™s what this ordinance would do, and thatâ€™s why Iâ€™d really like to see it passed."
But critics warn that the law may be unconstitutional.Â Michael Hickey spoke out against the idea.
"You canâ€™t hunt these people down and lock them up in their own homes. Youâ€™re not doing them justice. If theyâ€™ve served their time and theyâ€™re registered as a sex offender where they live, theyâ€™re abiding by the law. If you keep taking their freedom away from them, whoâ€™s gonna be next?"
The ordinance, modeled after similar laws in Danbury and Bristol is still under consideration. Over 400 municipalities nationwide have enacted similar restrictive ordinances.