ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY APPLAUDS LA HABRA FOR ADOPTING NEW LAW TO KEEP REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS OUT OF CITY PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS

For Immediate Release


Septemeber 19, 2011

Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
Office: 714-347-8408
Cell: 714-292-2718

Farrah Emami
Spokesperson
Office: 714-347-8405

ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY APPLAUDS
LA HABRA FOR ADOPTING NEW LAW TO KEEP REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS OUT OF
CITY PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS

SANTA ANA – The City of La Habra enacted tonight a law to create child safety zones to protect children from registered sex offenders in city parks and playgrounds after a second reading of the ordinance. La Habra City Council previously voted unanimously on Aug. 15, 2011, to pass the ordinance adopted today, Sept. 19, 2011. The City Council includes Mayor James Gomez, Mayor pro tem Tim Shaw, and Council Members Rose Espinoza, Tom Beamish, and Michael Blazey.

Orange County District Attorney’s Office Senior Assistant District Attorney Mary Anne McCauley was present at the City Council meeting to address public concerns and advocate for the passage of the ordinance. 

“The City of La Habra took a big step today in protecting children from dangerous sexually deviant predators by creating this safety zone. This law will discourage sex offenders from going to parks in La Habra, where they could have easy access to children and potentially get acquainted with them in the grooming process,” stated District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.  “I hope that other cities follow the leadership shown by the La Habra Mayor and Council Members and pass a similar ordinance in their cities.”

California Penal Code sections 290, et seq. require individuals convicted of certain crimes to register as sex offenders. The registration process is used to ensure that such offenders shall be readily available for police surveillance at all times because such offenders are deemed likely to commit similar offenses in the future.

The La Habra City Ordinance was modeled after the County Ordinance, which was passed unanimously by the Orange County Board of Supervisors April 5, 2011, and took effect May 5, 2011, to create a child safety zone to further protect children from registered sex offenders in County parks and harbors. The Ordinance was developed and proposed by Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and Supervisor Shawn Nelson and makes it a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a $500 fine, for registered sex offenders to enter County recreational areas where children regularly gather without permission from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), who enforce the Ordinance. La Habra is in the Fourth District represented by Supervisor Nelson.

“I’m really proud that we’ve offered this tool to the cities of Orange County,’ said Supervisor Shawn Nelson. “We’ve made the Ordinance available for cities to use and I’m glad the City of La Habra could use it.”

After enacting the County Ordinance, District Attorney Rackauckas, Chairman of the Board Bill Campbell, and County Supervisors Nelson, Patricia Bates, and Janet Nguyen sent letters to each Orange County city encouraging them to consider a similar ordinance for their city parks. The City of Westminster was the first to enact a City Ordinance on May 27, 2011. The City of Irvine enacted a City Ordinance with a partial ban of sex offenders at city parks on June 14, 2011. Several other Orange County cities are considering ordinances at this time.

To read the full County Ordinance, please visit www.orangecountyda.com and select the April 5, 2011, press release entitled “Orange County Board of Supervisors Unanimously Votes to Adopt New Law to Keep Registered Sex Offenders Out of Parks, Harbors, Beaches and Playgrounds,” under Press Releases/Media Advisories.

The La Habra City Ordinance is as follows:

ORDINANCE NO. 1726

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF LA HABRA ORANGE COUNTY CALIFORNIA ADDING CHAPTER 9 66 TO TITLE 9 OF THE LA HABRA MUNICIPAL CODE ESTABLISHING CITY PARKS AS CHILD SAFETY ZONES WHERE REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS ARE PROHIBITED FROM ENTERING WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION

WHEREAS, on April 5, 2011, the Orange County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a new Ordinance to create a child safety zone to further protect children from registered sex offenders, and

WHEREAS, the April 5 2011 County of Orange Ordinance prohibits registered sex offenders from entering County parks without written permission from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, but does not apply to any City parks that are located in Orange County, and

WHEREAS, the City of La Habra finds that it is appropriate and necessary to extend this prohibition to City of La Habra parks to establish Child Safety Zones in the City of La Habra to further protect children from sexual predators m areas where children frequent,

NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF LA HABRA DOES HEREBY ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1 Chapter 9 66 of Title 9 of the La Habra Municipal Code is hereby added as follows:

Chapter 9 66  ESTABLISHING CITY PARKS AS CHILD SAFETY ZONES AND PROHIBITING SEX OFFENDERS FROM ENTERING CITY PARKS WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM THE LA HABRA POLICE DEPARTMENT.