Former Mayor Joe Jaskiewicz stepped right up to the podium to offer his support for the Senior Safety Zone ordinance during the Town Council’s public hearing Wednesday night. He called the ordinance a “good bill,” and one he and Town Councilor Billy Caron “worked on together.”
“It’s a good ordinance and we honestly thought we had the state’s support on it; I don’t know what happened.”
Jaskiewicz was joined by Social and Senior Service director Kathleen Doherty-Peck who called the proposal important “so our seniors have a safe place to congregate.”
“It’s a first step in keeping our seniors safe,” she said.
But Town Councilor Dana McFee could not have been more opposed. He called the ordinance “ridiculous.”
In a previous interview with Patch he said needy seniors in the community would be better served with a portion of the “$3,000 it will cost for this thing.”
“You know out of all the populations, seniors are the least likely to be victims of sex offenders. This thing is just plain silly.”
Former Town Councilor Ellen Hillman said that while she was not opposed to the zones, she cautioned that there are sex offenders that currently use senior services and any ordinance would have to include a grandfathered clause addressing those individuals.
And Councilor Rosetta Jones, who worked with sex offenders during her years with the state department of corrections, said the ordinance contained language that should be amended so it would be clear and precise. But in order to make changes, the ordinance would have to go back to the drawing board, see the changes made and go back before the public. The four councilors that voted for passage prevented that from happening. And so, while state law succeeds the ordinance in many respects, the local law will go on the books.
The zone is virtually identical to the child safety zones approved by the council last month. A registered sex offender can enter a zone is when he or she is voting or picking up a parent, according to the senior safety zone ordinance and once he or she has done that, they must leave immediately after.
Part of the language of the ordinance requires the mayor or resident state trooper to reach out to each and every sex offender of the new ordinance.
There are 37 registered sex offenders in the Town of Montville, according to the sex offender registry, and more than half of those reside at the January Center, an offender treatment facility located at Corrigan-Radgowski prison in Uncasville.