TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – An important discussion is underway within the Vigo County Parks system. The board is looking into whether those listed on the sex offender registry should be banned from visiting county parks.
It’s a conversation that began Monday night, so it’s in the preliminary stages.
The Vigo County Parks Deparment in conjunction with their board are the ones charged with operating parks and keeping them the beautiful facilities that we’ve come to enjoy over the years. They’re also charged with keeping them safe. That’s why discussion is underway on whether people on the sex offender registry should be banned from these same parks.
So what prompted this discussion? The parks superintendent told WTHI-TV her office has received a few calls from park patrons. The callers say they’ve spotted people who are on the registry in Vigo County parks.
“The ultimate goal of this conversation is to make sure that we are looking at this discussion from a well rounded point of view,” said Superintendent Kara Kish. “We want to make sure that we’re taking in the all of the responsibilities that we have as a parks department.”
Current Indiana state law does not prohibit those on the sex offender registry from visiting public parks. However, Kish told WTHI-TV three municipalities have passed such ordinances: Lebanon, Michigan City and Plainfield. The question the Vigo County Parks Board must answer is what is best for Vigo County?
We want to emphasize that this discussion is just that…a discussion. No decision has been made. No ordinance has been crafted. At this point, the Vigo County Superintendent will continue to do her research both with communities that have passed ordinances like this, and she’ll also talk with communities who went against passing such ordinances.
Either way, this is going to be a well-rounded discussion by our Vigo County parks system, an we’ll continue to follow this story as it develops, and we’ll let you know when a decision is finally made.
The American Civil Liberties Union challenged Plainfield’s ordinance banning sex offenders from its parks. The ordinance was upheld by both a Hendricks County Court and the Indiana Court of Appeals. The ACLU’s petition to the Indiana Supreme Court was denied.