SUFFOLK SEX OFFENDERS TOUGHER TRACKING (Legislators to shut trailers, order new checks by police)

Newsday/Paul Larocco

Last night the Suffolk Legislature passed an emergency bill that supporters said will end ayearslong debate about where to house homeless sex offenders while creating the toughestmonitoring and enforcement program in the nation.  The bill intensifies monitoring of thecounty's 1,016 registered sex offenders and will close down trailers on the East End.  Thehomeless sex offenders will be dispersed to county homeless shelters throughout Suffolk but willnot be housed with families.  Upon enactment of this law, no one will have a strongerapproach than Suffolk County, said Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan's Law, anonprofit to prevent child sexual abuse.  They will work with police on the new monitoringplan.  I do not believe there is any reason to delay enactment by even one day, let along sixweeks.  Suffolk and officials nationwide have been struggling for years with the problem ofhousing convicted sex offenders.  Residency restriction laws are being struck down by courts,making intensified monitoring more important.

-February 2007:
Suffolk County begins to place homeless sex offenders in county-owned trailers that will bemoved periodically around the county in an effort to better monitor them and keep them out ofresidential areas.
-January 2009:
Several hundred people at a meeting in Riverhead protest the use of a trailer as temporaryshelter for nearly 20 sex offenders on the grounds of the Suffolk County Jail. All are convictedlevel2or 3 sex offenders, which means they must register for life and are deemed at the highest, orsecond-highest risk of reoffending.
-January 2010:
Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy closes two East End trailer sites and scraps a plan toput them in a converted industrial warehouse.  He says Suffolk will begin a program similar toNassau’s to give homeless offenders a $90 voucher to find their own emergency housing, mostlikely in a motel.
Levy signs legislation to require homeless sex offenders who receive county housing vouchersto wear GPS tracking devices.
Lawmakers cut off funding for the vouchers and instead pass legislation calling on theSocial Services Department to house homeless offenders at multiple sites in the county.
-Jan. 31, 2013:
Suffolk police unveil a proposal that would intensify monitoring of the county’s 1,016registered sex offenders and close trailers for homeless offenders on the East End by dispersingthem to shelters throughout the county.
The county legislature passes the plan unanimously.
(New York)