ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The City of Englewood is considering an overhaul of its restrictive sex offender distancing policies and heard public comment on the proposal Tuesday night.
“Having the support around someone is extremely critical,” said Brian Brockhausen, an Englewood resident who takes care of his elderly parents and disabled brother in the home where he grew up.
“Englewood uprooting people and moving them away from their active support is stupid," Brockhausen said.
His lawsuit prompted the city to re-examine its 2006 restrictions and proposed a change.
Instead of prohibiting sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, parks and playgrounds, the restrictions would be 1,000 feet, increasing the area open to sex offender registry from about one percent of the city to about 20 percent.
“The point is, we probably should look at some fairness to it, while yet maintaining the distancing between schools,” said Rick Gillit, Englewood’s Mayor Pro Tempore, who said he wants to listen to what the public says about the issue. “Residents without children seem to think, ‘You know what, we probably don’t need this.’ I have not talked to one resident yet that has children that is OK with us removing the distancing.”
Advocates, though, pointed to research showing restrictive distance residency policies can actually drive offenders underground and make communities less safe.
Most of the speakers at Tuesday's public hearing spoke in favor of repealing the restrictions altogether, saying they don't work.
"I would still be within the 1000 foot magic bubble, I call it. It's magic. It does nothing. It's a pure illusion," Brockhausen said. "This is no compromise. Repeal is the only way to have this taken care of."
The council will have the final vote on the issue March 6.