Will sex offender law have unintended consequences? - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Will sex offender law have unintended consequences?

By Brandon Richards - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC-TV) – Two days after it passed, a new Lake Charles ordinance to crack down on sex offenders has sparked a ton of debate.

The new ordinance requires convicted sex offenders to pay $600 dollars to register and it also requires them to provide more information about their crime.

 It's considered one of the toughest and perhaps the most expensive sex offender laws in the country.

Some KPLC viewers have expressed concern that the new ordinance will cause sex offenders to flee Lake Charles and end up in other communities within Calcasieu Parish.

Westlake Police Chief Michael Dickerson, said while he believes the measure is good for Lake Charles, he was waiting to see what kind of effect, if any, the law would have on his community.

"I don't know what effect it's going to have on other communities just yet," said Dickerson. "We don't know if we're going to get an influx of sex offenders moving into Westlake."

Dickerson said he and Westlake's mayor have already started discussing their options.

"We do plan on meeting with our legal counsel and if a situation comes up that we would have to address, we've started doing some research to prepare for that," said Dickerson.

While communities like Westlake wait to see what happens because of the Lake Charles ordinance, the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office said the ordinance, which they support, won't have any effect on them since sex offenders are required to register with their office regardless of where they reside within the parish.

"I think it's a good thing that [Lake Charles] is willing to do this," said Chief Deputy "Stitch" Guillory. "The more eyes you have looking at this situation, I think the safer we are as a community."

Copyright 2011 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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