The issue that could very well be the most important to Franklin residents on an emotional and personal level, even more so than our ungodly taxes, is child safety.
Across Wisconsin, more than 100 communities have approved ordinances that restrict where released sex offenders can live or congregate. They were modeled after Franklin’s ordinances, the first of their kind in the state, that were ruled constitutional. Communities wanted them because they believe them to be effective in protecting their children.
Those laws are on the books here in Franklin thanks to the hard work and dedication of thousands of Franklin residents. The architect of those Franklin ordinances was Steve Olson.
I personally saw Olson appear before other elected counterparts. He’d systematically provide information about what Franklin did, why and how. Though supportive of the concept of restrictive ordinances, Olson stopped short of instructing what he believed each municipality should specifically do, urging other local officials to consider, instead, what is best for their communities.
In September of 2015 Olson wrote a letter to members of a state Assembly committee that was considering sex offender legislation. Olson’s letter read in part:
The City of Franklin has been at the forefront of protecting its’ youngest citizens from sex offenders. We were the first city in the state to enact thoughtful and fair residency restrictions on convicted sex offenders in 2007. Our ordinance has been used by a large number of communities throughout the state as the model for their own ordinances.
Franklin crafted our ordinance to protect our children from the threat of sex offenders. We held four public hearings and debated at length the protection zones as well as the distances we felt we needed to protect our children given our community make up and geography. We did our research and we balanced our efforts to protect our children with the rights of sex offenders. We felt it important to be responsible and have areas available to accommodate sex offenders
We were also the first community to prosecute (and defend) our ordinance. Our ordinance and several others across the state have been held to be enforceable and constitutional.
The Franklin Police Department has used City Ordinance 167 to successfully restrict the residency of sex offenders in the City of Franklin numerous times.
The vote for mayor in Franklin is Steve Olson.
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