|Updated: 10/18/2011 2:28 pm
||Published: 10/14/2011 9:11 pm
Currently, the state of Oklahoma requires that all sex offenders live at least 2,000 feet from a school, park, or playground. In Tulsa there are thousands of those, so sex offenders don't have many places to live legally. That has forced them to congregate in certain parts of town. Some believe that's more dangerous than the alternative.
“Does the spacing make it safer, because where a person lives doesn't dictate where they can move,” State Representative Jeannie McDaniel, a Democrat from the 78th District in Tulsa, said.
McDaniel will over see an interim study beginning Tuesday to see if that 2,000 feet buffer should be cut in half.
“2,000 feet away, I think it helps. I don't think it protects them, I mean none of them's protected,” one Tulsa grandfather told FOX23.
But Representative McDaniel says there are problems with the way things are now.
“What we've found out is that there are very few places these people can live, which in turn then may group them all in one area.”
That's what's happened in Tulsa.
“I don't think it makes a huge difference, I mean you just want to keep them away and who's enforcing it,” Mom Janel Domenico said Friday.
Because it's so hard to find a place to live, many offenders break the law by not registering at all. A 16 year-old told FOX23 he does not want sex offenders close to his high school.
“I like the way things are now, I think we should just keep it like this,”
No decisions have been made and Tuesday’s discussion is just a first step, but McDaniel says safety has been and will always be priority number one.
“The goal is we need to be able to track (sex offenders), to be in dialogue with them, to make sure that they get the services they need if that's going to mean a safer community for all of us.”
The Tulsa Police Department is also voicing some support for this proposal. One sergeant in the exploitation department will speak at Tuesday’s meeting in Oklahoma City. The whole process to get the law changed could take more than a year.
“We'd have to introduce legislation, get it through a committee, get it through the house, through a senate committee, through the senate, to the governor; at the earliest anything could happen is next November first,” McDaniel said.