GIS details residential boundaries for sex offenders

COLUMBIA CITY — The County’s Geographic Information System office in Columbia City is adding a feature designed to eliminate any doubt about where certain convicted felons can live.Dan Weigold of the Whitley County GIS office made a report this week to the Whitley County Board of Commissioners about the latest feature in online information.“Whitley County GIS Department has developed a new layer for its website,” said Weigold. “It’s called the offender layer.”County Attorney Dan Sigler joined the discussion to add additional explanation.“The Indiana statutes place limitations on where offenders can live,” said Sigler.According to Weigold, the offender layer will soon be added to the site showing the areas that certain sex and violent offenders are not permitted to live.“If they have the layer at their fingertips, they can just call it up,” said Weigold.Weigold said the law prohibits certain sex and violent offenders from living within 1,000 feet from licensed day-care homes, licensed day-care facilities, day-care ministries, schools, parks and some public facilities that fit within the law. “This layer was developed to assist sheriffs, probation departments, state parole (office) and even the public in recognizing these areas more efficiently,” he said.“There will be an explanation added to the site that will explain the type of offenses that would be applicable to the buffer zones.“Again, this will only apply to some of the sex and violent offenders.”Weigold said the layer will apply to offenders who meet the criteria and who were convicted since 2006.“I don’t know how often we’ll be able to update this, but it’s a start,” said Sigler.Weigold responded by saying he expected his department could update the site monthly.“I think it’s a great idea,” said Sigler.