Mayor Awaits Attorney General Opinion on Operation: Monitor
01/13/2009

Mayor Ashley Swearengin has asked the City Council to postpone, until the next council meeting, consideration of an ordinance to track sex offenders in the city using GPS monitors. The City is awaiting confirmation from the California Attorney General’s office on a key component of Jessica’s Law, which requires paroled felony sex offenders to be monitored electronically for life.

"Our proposal is getting close attention in Sacramento because it closes a critical gap in the law,” Mayor Swearengin said. “I'm pleased that the Attorney General's Office has agreed to weigh in on this, although unfortunately, not in time for Tuesday's meeting.”

Under current law, felony sex offenders in California are required to wear GPS devices while on parole. However, the state-issued devices are removed once the felon’s parole has ended. The city’s plan, “Operation: Monitor”, would allow continued GPS-based supervision of high risk offenders living in Fresno, in accordance with the provisions of Jessica’s Law.

“The people of California called for lifetime GPS monitoring of felony sex offenders when they approved Jessica’s Law in 2006,” said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer. “Since the state is not currently meeting that obligation, we are prepared to step in to fill this dangerous void.”

Last week, City officials sought an opinion in support of the proposal from the Attorney General. A response is expected next week. “We’re prepared to force the issue with Sacramento if that’s what it takes to keep our community safe,” she said.

The Mayor has also met with City Council members over the past few days. “I appreciate the Council's input on this important issue," she said. "We are all interested in creating the strongest possible ordinance to protect Fresno from high-risk sex offenders, even if it takes a little more time to get it done.”

Contact: Randy Reed - Director of Communications 559-647-7741

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