CHIPLEY, Fla. (WMBB) — The Washington County Commission passed a new ordinance on Thursday that they hope will make families feel safer in their communities.
The commission increased the distance for how far sex offenders need to live from places where children gather.
Washington County resident, Rebecca Finch, said she and her children have been approached by registered sex offenders in their neighborhood. But with this new ordinance, she’s hoping other families won’t have the same issues.
“It makes me feel much better knowing that the children in the area will be further protected,” Finch said. “It’s a growing concern of course worldwide, nationwide, statewide, countywide of your children being victimized and it’s not acceptable and it won’t happen here.”
The new ordinance increases the required distance from 1000 feet to 2500 feet for registered sex offenders and predators to live from a school, playground, park or other places where children regularly gather.
Jackson and Calhoun counties have a similar ordinance. Washington County Sheriff, Kevin Crews, said their ordinances may have impacted the sex offender numbers in their county.
“What’s happened to us, is actually pushed some of those people out of counties that they would have probably, normally, lived in before they’re pushing them into our county,” Crews said.
Crews said there are currently 88 registered sex offenders in Washington County but the new rule won’t apply to them as they’re grandfathered in.