COUNCIL: More research needed on proposed registered sex offender ordinance

City of San Angelo

The San Angelo City Council reviewed a possible registered sex offender ordinance during Tuesday’s meeting at the McNease Convention Center.

San Angelo Police Chief Tim Vasquez spoke to council members about ordinances in other cities, including League City. The discussion included data collected from other cities and Census numbers, as well as comments from council members, Vasquez, Mayor Dwain Morrison and the public.

Currently, San Angelo has more than 300 registered sex offenders living within the city. In the past, the Texas Department of Public Safety handled checks on offenders, but the program was discontinued. Vasquez formed the Sex Offender Accountability Program (SOAP) to take the duties previously performed by DPS.

Vasquez said that most offenders comply with the program – registering, checking in, etc. He added “most sex offenses that occur in our community happen against children.”

“Looking at the numbers of sex offenders here,” Vasquez said. “Most of the reports are sex crimes against children and are by a relative.”

City Councilwoman Charlotte Farmer, who initially requested the agenda item said she found in her research that Tom Green County ranks 17th in the state in the number of registered sex offenders. San Angelo’s Census count in 2010 was 97,942 with 347 of those residents being registered offenders.

Vasquez said only 30 cases per year of the 347 are reported for failure to register. In those instances, an officer files a report, the criminal investigations division investigates and presents to the district attorney’s office, who will decide if they want to proceed with charges.

If an ordinance is passed, it would be enforced by the Municipal Court.

City Attorney Theresa James said if the offender is on parole, they could be sent back to jail for a violation. James reminded council that some other cities who have passed the ordinances have had to remove them from the books because of legalities and litigation.

Farmer said city staff now has a starting point to continue research. No action was taken on the item.