Hutto working to pass sex offender restrictions

City leaders in Hutto are working to put in sex offender restrictions in place in the city.

A park, a school -- generally these are places convicted sex offenders can't live near, except in Hutto.

The city doesn't have those restrictions. But city leaders plan to change that.

Neighborhood pools are populated with children when the mercury rises in Texas. Soon, it will be illegal for predators to live anywhere nearby.

"It just seems like a very safe community," said Ashley Bankston, a mother of two. "Seems like it would've been an issue that someone already thought about."

But she wasn't the only one surprised to find out Hutto does not regulate where sex offenders can live. So was the city's new police chief.

"I was really shocked, and I knew it was something we had to get rolling just as fast as we could", said Chief Byron Frankland. It took him two days to get the documents drawn up.

Hutto City Council approved them on first reading Thursday night.

If passed, the new law would prohibit sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of places where children gather, like playgrounds or sporting events.

"One sexual offense committed in our city is way too many," said Hutto City Manager Odis Jones.

With a recent uptick in sexual assaults, Jones believes it's time for the new law.

"Ten years ago it was a small sleepy town and today we're approaching thirty thousand people. We have over 50 people moving to our community every day, it's an exciting place to be."

Turns out, some may pick Hutto not for what it has, but for what it lacks.

21 sex offenders currently live in the city.

"There had been some intel gathered from one of our CID detectives who was told by one of the offenders that Hutto was the place to come to because there is not an ordinance", said Frankland.

Bankston says news of a new law is reassuring.

"I know a lot of people do their checks on their own but it will be better if there were other people watching out too."

Hutto plans to expand the police department by 27 officers in the near future.

A second reading, and likely the passage of the new ordinance, will happen on June 15.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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