- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) - State officials’ proposal to temporarily house registered sex offenders at a mobile home park in Richmond has sparked a series of meeting around Indiana with local police agencies about the sensitive issue.

Wayne County Sheriff Jeff Cappa said Tuesday that the Indiana Department of Correction’s plan to place a mobile home at the Beechwood Mobile Home Park in Richmond to house registered sex offenders has been put on hold while those meetings play out in the coming months.

He said the Indiana Sheriff’s Association will be hosting a series of meetings around the state with DOC Commissioner Bruce Lemmon about the agency’s larger plan to house registered sex offenders in communities.

Cappa will attend a meeting April 22 in Portland, Ind., to share his thoughts about the DOC plan. He said the hope is that DOC staff and local law enforcement officials can discuss alternatives to the DOC program.

“This will give us a chance to work together and come up with some answers, instead of just having it dropped on us like it was,” Cappa told the Palladium-Item (https://pinews.co/1hMFMT3 ). “I think in the end we will form a better professional partnership and work together to handle this situation.”

DOC spokesman Doug Garrison said the proposal to place a mobile home for registered sex offenders on Richmond’s northwest side sparked those meetings. He said the sheriff’s association is inviting sheriffs and other local law enforcement agencies to the meetings with Lemmon in six regions around the state over the next several months.

“We’ll work together to try to find housing solutions, that’s what this is about,” Garrison said Wednesday. “We’re trying to reach the broadest segment of law enforcement that we can.”

Last month, 17 state, area and local officials met in Richmond to discuss the DOC’s proposal for Richmond. The plan was for sex offenders who completed their jail terms to be placed at a mobile home in the park rent-free for two weeks while they begin to resettle in the community.

Delaware County Chief Deputy Sheriff Jason Walker also attended that meeting to talk about a similar trial program started in Delaware County, which was suspended before plans were announced to bring the program to Richmond.

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Information from: Palladium-Item, https://www.pal-item.com

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