TEMPLE, TX — The City of Temple’s lax regulations on where some registered sex offenders can live has many citizens speaking out.
“Sex Offenders in Temple have to follow state regulations. So, if they are currently on probation or parole there are some restrictions as to where they can live, places they can go...specifically related to areas where children may be,” said Cody Weems, Media Relations Specialist for Temple Police Department.
But he explains that this is not the case for sex offenders that have completed their parole or probation.
These sex offenders can live wherever they choose, regardless of proximity to schools or playgrounds.
“The City of Temple right now does not have a sex offender ordinance on the books. Right now, any sex offenders living in the City of Temple are subject to state regulations,” said Mayor Tim Davis.
The state does regulate where certain sex offenders can live, and the City of Temple currently defers to state law on this subject. A parole panel is required to establish a “child safety zone” when a person younger than 17 was the victim of a sex-related offense. This means, as one condition of parole or mandatory supervision, the sex offender cannot go in, on, or within a specified distance of a premises where children commonly gather. Some of these specific locations are schools, day care facilities, playgrounds, youth centers, public swimming pools, or video arcades.
Just because there isn’t an ordinance now, doesn’t mean it is off the table.
However, residents have every right to go to their City Council member or the Mayor and request that this issue be looked at by the city. If elected leaders choose, they can then ask city staff to research possible remedies to resident concerns, to include enacting a Sex Offender Residency Restrict Ordinance to complement the state statute. The City of Temple’s vision is to be a place our residents love to call home, and our mission is to provide exceptional service without exception to our citizens. We welcome any input from our community on issues that are important to them.
“If there are enough citizens that are truly concerned about this, they can contact their Councilmember. At that point, City Councilmembers can direct the City Attorney to begin to look into that process,” said Davis.
As it stands now, registered sex offenders who are no longer on parole or probation must register with the Temple Police Department.
“Our officers will make an effort to make face to face contact with them about once a year. Make sure they are in compliance and where they say they are,” said Weems.
The Department of Public Safety maintains maps listing the addresses of registered sex offenders. To check the registry map in your neighborhood, click here.
To learn more about the registry map, click here.