Amid concern over how residents are notified about sex offenders potentially moving into their neighborhoods, Green Bay's protection and welfare committee now considers a new option, social media.
This past summer Samuel Brandt, a convicted sex offender, planned to move into an east Green Bay neighborhood. The people who work and live there say they had no idea, until it was reported in the media. Alderman Jerry Wiezbieskie says that has to change.
"Neighbors didn't know about it, neighborhood associations didn't know about it and nobody had an idea of what was going on," said Wiezbiskie.
Wiezbieskie asked the Protection and Welfare Committee to develop a way to better notify residents about where sex offenders are looking to live. The aldermen discussed using email, or having community police officers deliver notices. In the end, the committee voted to use the police department's social media pages.
"There's no perfect way to contact the entire neighborhood, it is just, I feel the most cost effective at this point," said Green Bay Alderman Jesse Brunette. "My motion was for a six month trial period, so I'm fully aware that it's not a perfect policy, but at least we get the conversation started."
As city leaders try to put this new notification process in place, the city's legal department says they're concerned that the city may run into some trouble with the state.
"The state laws have a notification system already in place and so if the city wants to pass a notification law it can not conflict with what the state has created and I think this conflicts with the state's law, so it will be preempted by state law," said Green Bay Assistant City Attorney Kail Decker.
The city's police and legal departments will draft the new notification policy. Then, it will have to be voted through at committee and city council before it can go into effect.