Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone was late in his January 1 goal of closing down two trailers that are being used to house homeless sex offenders in the town of Southampton, but on Thursday, Suffolk law enforcement and Parents for Megan’s Law unveiled Bellone’s new plan to have the trailers closed once and for all.
One trailer is located in the parking lot of a county jail in Riverside, and the other is located on county police property in Westhampton. Together, they house approximately 40 sex offenders.
Bellone proposed that instead of banding homeless sex offenders together or even grouping them in particular towns, sex offenders should be spread out throughout Suffolk County. The sex offenders living in the two trailers in question will be sent to various homeless shelters, and only one sex offender will be permitted to reside at each facility.
Previously, legislators have passed a mini-shelter program to house these sex offenders, which entailed sending six sex offenders to each participating shelter. Bellone felt that this was not the best approach, as each community would still be given a cluster of sex offenders.
The offenders would be required to alert the police as to where they are moving so that the police can continue to monitor their location – a plan that Bellone is confident in.
“We will develop the most stringent monitoring and enforcement program in the nation,” stated Bellone in a press release.
Address verification of sex offenders is part of Bellone’s eight-point plan to protect citizens. Community members would also receive emails and updates through social media that would alert them if a sex offender has moved into their area.
If the plan is passed, Parents for Megan’s Law will serve as a contract agency to check that not just the trailer residents, but all of the over 1,000 sex offenders in Suffolk County in appropriate environments and that community safeguards are in place.
A decision on Bellone’s proposal may come as soon as Tuesday, February 5. Twelve votes will be required to pass the legislation.