|For Immediate Release
May 27, 2011
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY APPLAUDS WESTMINSTER FOR ADOPTING NEW LAW TO
KEEP REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS OUT OF
CITY PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS
*First Orange County city to enact law creating child safety zones
SANTA ANA – Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas is commending the City of Westminster for being the first Orange County City to enact law to create child safety zones protecting children from registered sex offenders. Mayor Margie Rice, Mayor Pro Tem Tyler Diep, Council Member Andrew Quach, and Council Member Tri Ta voted “yes” to pass the child safety zone city ordinance late yesterday evening, May 26, 2011. Council Member Frank Fry abstained.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Mary Anne McCauley was also present at the City Council meeting to address public concerns and advocate in favor of passing the ordinance.
ADOPTION OF CHILD SAFETY ZONES BY WESTMINSTER
Westminster City Ordinance 9.71 makes it a misdemeanor for any person required to register as a sex offender pursuant to California Penal Code sections 290, et seq. who enters into or upon any City of Westminster park where children regularly gather, without written permission from the Westminster Police Department. Violators may be punished with up to six months in jail and/or a $500 fine.
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.
On April 5, 2011, Orange County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to adopt a new County Ordinance to create a child safety zone to further protect children from registered sex offenders. The Ordinance was developed and proposed by Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and Supervisor Shawn Nelson (Fourth District) and makes it a misdemeanor for registered sex offenders to enter County recreational areas where children regularly gather without permission from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD). The Ordinance took effect Thursday, May 5, 2011, and be enforced in County parks and harbors by OCSD.
After the passing of the County Ordinance, District Attorney Rackauckas, Chairman of the Board Bill Campbell, Supervisor Patricia Bates, Supervisor Shawn Nelson, and Supervisor Janet Nguyen sent out letters to each Orange County City urging or informing the City of the newly enacted County ordinance to keep sex offenders out of designated areas. Many cities including Dana Point, Irvine, Huntington Beach, and Rancho Santa Margarita are considering whether such an ordinance should be enacted in their cities.
To read the full County Ordinance, please 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 at www.orangecountyda.com.