INFORUM.com | WDAZ.com

WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 16, 2014, 06:28 PM

Hankinson considering new sex offender ordinance

Hankinson, ND (WDAY TV) - The tight-knit community of Hankinson is considering creating a sex offender ordinance, after a high risk offender moved to town.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY

Hankinson, ND (WDAY TV) - The tight-knit community of Hankinson is considering creating a sex offender ordinance, after a high risk offender moved to town.

Right now there are 31 sex offenders living in Richland County but 54-year-old William Hendricks is Hankinson's first.

Vanessa Mauch - Weeser Playschool: "The town was a buzz."

Big talk is billowing through the small town of Hankinson after the city's first high-risk sex offender, William Hendricks, made his home on Main Avenue.

Joseph O'Meara - Hankinson Mayor: "This is new to us."

Vanessa Mauch: "It's kind of scary working at the day care and knowing that there is this person here. It's definitely makes your guard go up."

Weeser Playschool is right down the road and even though Hendricks has since moved a few miles out of town. Community members want to create restrictions, so another sex offender can't move in.

Joseph O'Meara: "They've got rights and you're not trying to run them out of town, but there are certain sensitive areas where, it makes people nervous."

The city ordinance would prohibit sex offenders from living within 800 feet of places like schools, playgrounds, and daycares. After measuring, that's only about four blocks away from the building.

Vanessa Mauch: "It definitely makes me nervous, I know of kids who ride around on their bikes after school and at night."

But when you're in a town the size of Hankinson, with multiple places children frequent, without a ton of space

Joseph O'Meara: "If you start drawing the circles on a map, pretty soon it gets kind of tough."

Vanessa Mauch: "Being in a small town they usually feel safe, but now when we hear about this, it's scary."

So city leaders will try to work with the community, to figure out the safest option for everyone.

Joseph O'Meara: "It's a tough situation to be in, but we're here."

The sex offender ordinance has already passed its first reading, they'll take it up again at the city council meeting next month, followed by a possible vote.

Tags: