Sturgeon Bay Aims to block certain sex offenders

Posted at 8:09 PM, Mar 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-07 22:52:16-05
STURGEON BAY, WI -- The city of Sturgeon Bay is one step closer in joining a growing list of Wisconsin cities fighting to keep sex offenders from other communities out of theirs. 
A unanimous vote by the Sturgeon Bay City Council earlier this month (with two alderpersons absent during the vote) moves forward an ordinance that prohibits violent sexual offenders from residing in the city.
It will still need further approval and a second vote at an upcoming Council meeting to create the ordinance. 
If approved, the ordinance would prohibit the state's most violent sex offenders from residing in Sturgeon Bay, unless the offender committed the crime while living here.
District 6 Alderman Stewart Fett says he understands having to house offenders who call the area home.
"We'll take our own. We'll take our own sex offenders that we have from the city of Sturgeon Bay," says Fett, "but we really do not want any from outside the area. So, we don't want any from Milwaukee, or any other city, whatever the case might be."
And as cities like Manitowoc pass ordinances of their own, Fett says they don't want to be vulnerable.
If approved, Sturgeon Bay will join more than 40 cities throughout the state with similar ordinances.
"Obviously we are not breaking new ground. We are not first in line on this," says Fett. "We felt as though this is something that we had to do." 
"It's a small town atmosphere," describes lifelong Sturgeon Bay resident Chris Parent. "It's a very safe environment." 
Parent says she sees the benefits of the ordinance, but also understands the need to make rehabilitation achievable for offenders.
"[To] get back into the mainstream, and be part of a community again," adds Parent, "you know, whether we should take Milwaukee's, and they should take ours...I guess I'm really not qualified to say that."
A second vote on Sturgeon Bay's sex offender ordinance is scheduled for next week. 
Critics of these local ordinances say they're making the hunt for housing for many released sex offenders difficult, and costly.