Orange County District Attorney Press Release
For Immediate Release: October 24, 2012
Contacts: Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff, Office: 714-347-8408, Cell: 714-292-2718
Farrah Emami, Spokesperson, Office: 714-347-8405, Cell: 714-323-4486
SANTA ANA – The Anaheim City Council voted unanimously to enact an ordinance yesterday to expand child safety zones to protect children from registered sex offenders in city parks. The Ordinance, which was originally introduced by Councilwoman Kris Murray, becomes effective in 30 days. The City Council also includes Mayor Tom Tait, Mayor pro tem Harry S Sidhu, P.E., and Council Members Gail E. Eastman and Lorri Galloway.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, Chief of Staff Susan Kang Schroeder, and Erin Runnion, Founder of the Joyful Child Foundation and mother of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion, who was murdered in 2002, were present at the City Council meeting to address public concerns and advocate for the passage of the ordinance. State Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) also spoke at the meeting and endorsed the Ordinance.
“The City Council put public safety first and stood up for children by creating these child safety zones,” stated District Attorney Rackauckas. “I would like to thank the Anaheim City Council members for their courage and conviction in voting for this Ordinance to make Anaheim a safer place for children and their parents.”
“Public Safety is our primary concern in the City of Anaheim,” said Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait. “The action taken last night is to protect children from potential offenses, and to reduce the risk of harm to them. We are pleased to stand alongside our neighboring cities in Orange County for the welfare of children.”
“Protecting our children is one of my highest priorities,” said Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Harry Sidhu. “With this ordinance, if we can protect even one child, we will have made a meaningful difference in our community.”
“The ordinance adopted by the City Council puts children and families first and ensures our parks are safe havens from sexual predators in the City of Anaheim,” said Council Member Kris Murray. “It’s important we remain vigilant as a community to protect our children citywide.”
“Keeping our children safe and secure is very important to me. I am happy that the City of Anaheim was added to the growing number of cities making that a priority,” said Council Member Gail Eastman.
California Penal Code sections 290, et seq. require individuals convicted of certain crimes to register as sex offenders. The registration process is used to ensure that such offenders shall be readily available for police surveillance at all times because such offenders are deemed likely to commit similar offenses in the future. Sex offender registrants are also banned from entering County recreational and city parks which have passed the Sex Offender Ordinance.
The Anaheim Ordinance was modeled after the County Ordinance, which was passed unanimously by the Orange County Board of Supervisors April 5, 2011, and took effect May 5, 2011, to create a child safety zone to further protect children from registered sex offenders in County parks and harbors.
The Anaheim Ordinance makes it a misdemeanor for any sex offender from entering any City Park. The County Ordinance was developed and proposed by District Attorney Rackauckas and Supervisor Shawn Nelson (Fourth District) and makes it a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a $500 fine, for registered sex offenders to enter County recreational areas where children regularly gather without permission from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), who enforce the Ordinance.
After enacting the County Ordinance, District Attorney Rackauckas, Chairman of the Board Bill Campbell, and County Supervisors Nelson, Patricia Bates, and Janet Nguyen sent letters to each Orange County city encouraging them to consider a similar ordinance for their city parks. In the past year, the Cities of Westminster, Irvine, La Habra, Los Alamitos, Huntington Beach, Yorba Linda, Laguna Hills, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, Seal Beach, Costa Mesa, Santa Ana, and Fountain Valley passed similar ordinances, and other cities are currently in the process of developing a similar ordinance.
To read the full County Ordinance, please visit www.orangecountyda.com and select the April 5, 2011, press release entitled, “Orange County Board of Supervisors Unanimously Votes to Adopt New Law to Keep Registered Sex Offenders Out of Parks, Harbors, Beaches and Playgrounds,” under Press Releases/Media Advisories.
The Anaheim City Ordinance is as follows:
ORDINANCE NO. 6256
AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF ANAHEIM ADDING SECTIONS 7.60.010 THROUGH 7.60.40, INCLUSIVE, OF CHAPTER 7.60 OF TITLE 7 OF THE ANAHEIM MUNICIPAL CODE RELATING TO CHILD SAFETY ZONES
THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ANAHEIM HEREBY ORDAINS AS FOLLOWS:
That Section 7.60.010 of Chapter 7.60 of Title 7 of the Anaheim Municipal Code be, and the same is hereby, added to read as follows:
“7.60.010. Purpose and Intent.
.010. It is the purpose and intent of this Chapter to protect children from registered sex offenders by restricting sex offenders’ access to City parks where children regularly gather. It is intended to reduce the risk of harm to children by limiting the ability of sex offenders to be in contact with children in these locations while, under narrow circumstances, allowing such persons access to City parks.
.020. It is further the intent of this Chapter to provide additional restrictions beyond those provided for in state law by restricting sex offenders from certain limited locations, and by allowing for criminal penalties for violations of this Chapter. It is not the intent of this Chapter to allow conduct otherwise prohibited by state law, or to contradict state law. City parks are recognized by the City Council as locations where children regularly gather.”
That Section 7.60.020 of Chapter 7.60 of Title 7 of the Anaheim Municipal Code be, and the same is hereby added to read as follows:
.010. Except as otherwise permitted pursuant to Section 7.60.030 of this Chapter, no person who is required to register pursuant to California Penal Code Section 290 et seq., shall enter upon or into any City Park where children regularly gather. Each entry into or upon such City Park, regardless of the time period between entries, shall constitute a separate offense under this chapter.
.020. As used in this Chapter, “City Park” shall mean and include all Community Parks, Neighborhood Parks and Special Use Parks located in the City of Anaheim, a list of which is on file in the Anaheim Community Services Department.”
That Section 7.60.030 of Chapter 7.60 of Title 7 of the Anaheim Municipal Code be, and the same is hereby, added to read as follows:
“7.60.030. Exemption from Prohibition.
.010. The Anaheim Chief of Police may grant an exemption from the prohibition set forth in Section 7.60.020 of this Chapter to any person who makes a request for such exemption in accordance with the process set forth below if the Chief of Police determines, in his or her sole discretion, that such exemption is warranted.
.020. Any person seeking an exemption from the prohibition set forth in Section 7.60.030, shall complete an application therefor on a form available at the Anaheim Police Department, and submit such application no less than ten (10) days prior to the date(s) upon which entry to the City Park is desired.
.030 The Chief of Police shall review the application and advise the applicant within five (5) days of receipt of the application of his or her determination. The decision of the Chief of Police shall be final.”
That Section 7.60.040 of Chapter 7.60 of Title 7 of the Anaheim Municipal Code be, and the same is hereby, added to read as follows:
Section 7.60.040 Notice to Penal Code Section 290 Registrants
Every person registering with the Anaheim Police Department pursuant to California Penal Code Section 290 et seq., shall be provided with a written notice of the prohibition set forth in Section 7.60.020 above and a copy of Chapter 7.60, and shall sign an acknowledgment of receipt thereof.
SECTION 5. SEVERABILITY
The City Council of the City of Anaheim hereby declares that should nay section, paragraph, sentence or word of this ordinance of the Code, hereby adopted, be declared for any reason to be invalid, it is the intent of the Council that it would have passed all other portions of this ordinance independent of the elimination herefrom of any such portion as may be declared invalid.
SECTION 6. SAVINGS CLAUSE
Neither the adoption of this ordinance nor the repeal of any other ordinance of this City shall in any manner affect the prosecution for violations of ordinances, which violations were committed prior to the effective date hereof, nor be construed as a waiver of any license or penalty or the penal provisions applicable to any violation thereof. The provisions of this ordinance, insofar as they are substantially the same as ordinance provisions previously adopted by the City relating to the same subject matter, shall be construed as restatements and continuations, and not as new enactments.
SECTION 7. PENALTY
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to violate any provision or to fail to comply with any of the requirements of this ordinance. Any person, firm or corporation violating any provision of this ordinance or failing to comply with any of its requirements shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine not exceeding One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) or by imprisonment not exceeding six (6) months, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Each such person, firm or corporation shall be deemed guilty of a separate offense for each day during any portion of which any violation of any of the provisions of this ordinance is committed, continued or permitted by such person, firm or corporation, and shall be punishable therefor as provided for in this ordinance.
THE FOREGOING ORDINANCE was passed and adopted at a regular meeting of said City Council held on the 23rd day of October, 2012.
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701