Edwards said the ordinance was designed to protect children as broadly as possible, and said he introduced the city law after hearing that sex offenders had been watching kids at local parks and pools.
"School grounds and public parks are the two big ones where kids would gather," he said. "The reason, of course, is that we had a sex offender continually hanging around Valley Park, at the Wave Pool, watching little kids with binoculars."
According to Edwards, the ordinance applies to all registered sex offenders in Hurricane, regardless of whether they have children of their own or were convicted of crimes that did not involve minors. The ordinance, however, defines a sex offender as "an individual who has been convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication for a sexual offense involving a person under eighteen (18) years of age for which the individual is required to register as a sex offender under West Virginia Code."
"It's legal in other states, as well," Edwards said. "Other states have very similar ordinances logged. I would actually hope that our Legislature would consider making this a state law."
Twenty-seven registered sex offenders live in Hurricane, and three more are employed in Hurricane but are not residents of Putnam County, according to the West Virginia State Police website. Of the 27 offenders registered in the city, all but one were charged with crimes involving a person under age 18.
Another issue that could be created by an ordinance like this is that it has the potential to create "a false sense of security," Rogers said.
"It could take sex offenders from supportive environments, where there is a likelihood they might rehabilitate, and put them in a place where they don't have any support," she said. "We understand that there are dangerous predators, and we don't want them roaming around, but we're not sure this does anything to target people who are actually dangerous.
"These crimes are generally not crimes of proximity, but crimes of relationship."
Reach Lydia Nuzum at lydia.nu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.