Friday, January 18, 2008

Small town reaction to release of sex offender

Sex Offender to Move Blocks Away from Three Schools

Jan 18, 2008 12:31 AM EST

By Emily Matesic

A meeting is scheduled Thursday night to inform neighbors about the release of a sex offender. The safety of children is a very big concern because of where he will be living.

Kenneth Davis Junior will be living on Grant Street, blocks away from West De Pere middle and high school and Westwood Elementary.

The West De Pere School District and the De Pere Police Department have been working together ever since they learned Davis, a registered sex offender, would be released in the community.

"As soon as we found out about the release, we began to contact the local schools, talked to the principals and administrators to let them know exactly where we were coming from, and to provide as much information on the release of the offender," De Pere Police Captain Brian Messerschmidt said.

Davis will be living with his parents at 1010 Grant Street, a home that sits right in the middle of a school zone.

"I understand the frustration of trying to place people. Probably everybody would react the same way we and the police department react, and they've got to go somewhere. It seems to me it would be nice if it wasn't downtown by schools," West De Pere Superintendent Lanny Tibaldo said.

But since the State Department of Corrections is responsible for where sex offenders live, the only thing the school district and police can do is prepare for his release.

"We've gone door-to-door in the general vicinity of the neighborhood. We advised the schools, school administrators, school staff. We've also gone to local businesses, local taverns, local liquor stores to advise them of the individual being released on the 22nd of January," Messerschmidt said.
Police say Davis is known to target young females and use the Internet to contact his victims.

When he's released, he'll live under tight restrictions. He'll be electronically monitored and is prohibited from using the Internet.

"He will not have any access to computers, to a wireless hub, to anything of that sort," Messerschmidt said. "We've contacted the local libraries, St. Norbert college, all the schools in the general vicinity as well as places like Starbucks where you have free-standing computers."

Because of that planning, Tibaldo says, "I feel confident the De Pere police and the Department of Corrections are going to monitor him very closely, and we'll be kept abreast of what's going on."

Tibaldo added, "We've had secure schools, as secure as we can make them, for a long time. Our doors are locked, they have to go through the front exit. We've been doing this since 2000, 2001, and so we have supervisors out in our playgrounds and the crosswalk guards the city employs will be tuned in to this."

Neighbors Have Questions About Sex Offender Near Schools

By Jason Zimmerman

Dozens of neighbors showed up at a meeting Thursday night asking questions about a convicted sex offender moving in next week.

Kenneth Davis Junior, 28, is known to target young females and use the Internet to contact his victims. When he's released from prison, he'll live with his parents on Grant Street -- a house that's blocks from West De Pere high school and middle school and Westwood Elementary School.

A lot of parents said they're planning to take extra precautions once Davis moves in next Tuesday.

The Department of Corrections and local police took questions about Davis and addressed concerns over his past. Davis will live under tight restrictions, including electronic monitoring and absolutely no access to the Internet.

Police encouraged neighbors to report problems, to keep an extra eye on their neighborhood, and to talk to their kids.

"Educate my kids, show them the picture, remind them about safety at home, keep the door locked, point out the house, make sure they are in groups if walking in the neighborhood, just basic safety," said parent Debbie Pasterski, who told us she lives six houses down from where Davis will live.

Other people said they're glad police are notifying the public but that it's not too comforting knowing who's moving in.

If only all cities in America were in tune to the sex offenders in their neighborhood, we could all work together to keep our families safe. In larger cities people seem to ignore the local sex offenders and law enforcement only informs neighbors within 1000 ft of only the most dangerous predators.
Ignorance is not bliss.

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