SUFFOLK ANNOUNCES PLAN TO CLOSE SEX-OFFENDER TRAILERS
Thursday morning Suffolk police announced the county's intention to close the controversialEast End trailers that house homeless sex offenders. Officials call this part of a plan thetoughest monitoring and enforcement program in the nation for all registered sex offenders. The 38 homeless sex offenders now clustered nightly in the trailers in Riverside and Westhamptonwill be spread throughout the county's existing shelter system, no more than one perfacility. The county will team with the advocacy group Parents for Megan's Law to betterproactively monitor registrants and offer more tools for residents to report potential violationsfrom sex offenders. They include a smartphone application and a new 24-hour hotline. Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan's Law, said that a comprehensive plan likethis is needed because courts have lately been overturning municipalities' strict residencyrestrictions on sex offenders. The trailers will be closed and residency restrictions inSuffolk County will be overturned, Ahearn said. So where are we going to go fromhere? Chief of Department James Burke said the strong recommendation of the Suffolk CountyPolice Department is to end clustering. He said, let's face it, if I took 20 bank robbersand put them under the same roof, at the end of the day, what would I come out with? Twenty betterbank robbers. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone pledged in May to relocate all homelesssex offenders by the end of 2012. He didn't meet the deadline, but aides said he waspreparing a more comprehensive plan in conjunction with such victims' advocates as Parents forMegan's Law.