It took many to halt state’s plans for sex offenders

Dear Editor:

I want to thank the countless concerned individuals, groups, elected officials and leaders in Cambridge and around the state who helped temporarily defeat Governor Dayton’s plans to move dangerous sex offenders to our city. Having spent decades protecting the citizens as a Sheriff’s Deputy for Isanti County before being elected to the Minnesota Legislature, I was alarmed by these plans. Minnesota’s Department of Human Services was met with outrage and fear when these ideas became public. I was contacted by literally thousands of people over the last few weeks and together, we were successful in pushing these plans back — made official through an announcement by the governor on Nov. 13.

The plan to bring sex offenders to the former state hospital site in the middle of Cambridge, near homes and a city park, was one of the worst proposals I’ve ever seen. Would we place patients undergoing treatment for alcoholism next to a liquor store? Of course not. Any facilities housing these offenders should be located far from residential areas.

Our work to protect Cambridge from future plans like this is not over. In fact, state officials have eyed other communities in the state for similar plans. While the legislature will get the opportunity to reform this broken program when we meet in the spring, there are no guarantees that less secure facilities won’t be used to house these offenders down the road.

Thank you again to the residents of Cambridge for spending your time and efforts defeating this temporary transfer plan. I look forward to your input as we move forward and permanently reform these laws to better protect Minnesotans for generations to come.

Rep. Brian Johnson
Cambridge

 

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