FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — We are less than 100 days away from Halloween, and after Wednesday, parents won’t have to be as scared about sending the kids off to trick-or-treat.
Nothing is more important to Jennifer Quick than her four kids.
“My children’s safety is a top priority,” she said.
And as Act 463 goes into effect, she takes a sigh of relief.
“I feel like the lawmakers finally putting in some effort towards the safety of our children is a big deal and I think it’s a good reflection of the government right now,” said Quick, a mother of four.
The new law stops registered sex offenders from participating in things like wearing costumes and handing out candy when Oct. 31 rolls around.
“They can’t be involved pretty much any Halloween events where kids are present,” Sgt. Tony Murphy said.
This isn’t just for one night, level three and four sex offenders can’t take part in Halloween events two weeks before or after the holiday.
Sgt. Murphy with the Fayetteville Police Department said this legislation gives his team teeth to enforce what they need to.
“We have recourse,” he said. “If we tell someone not to do something, but we don’t have anything to back us up, it really doesn’t help law enforcement at all.”
Quick said, “To be honest, I think something like this was necessary for a long time.”
But to really feel safe, Quick wants to know how it’ll be enforced.
“These officers know these people by sight so if they were out, they would be able to recognize them,” Sgt. Murphy said.
Criminals will also be told where they can and cannot go upon registering as a sex offender.
If they’re caught, it’s a class D felony.
“And then it’ll be up to court system what the punishment is for that,” he said.
Quick says in today’s day and age, it’s hard to leave her kids alone in the dark.
But now, she has more confidence they’ll be protected.
“I have a lot of faith in the police force around here but I am glad there’s now a statewide law,” she said.
There are two exceptions to this law; a sex offender will not be punished if they are wearing a costume for a legitimate work-related event or engaged in the commercial or retail sale of candy or Halloween related items.