The idea was first approved last summer by city council by a vote of 4 to 3. But before moving ahead with the plan, Lubbock wanted legal approval from the state attorney general's office. On Monday, the state A.G.'s office issued its opinion on the matter, stating that the information is public record, and Lubbock is well within its rights to start broadcasting the names, pictures, addresses and crimes of Lubbock's sex predators on local TV.
City Councilman Gary Boren, who proposed the idea, says this is all about making Lubbock a better place to live. "Anything I can do to let neighbors know who lives in their neighborhood to protect their children, their wives and senior citizens, that's what this is for," says Boren.
For years, the Lubbock Police Department's web site has listed registered sexual predators by their zip codes, then listing their pictures, names, addresses and convictions. Now, this information will be piped right into your living room, on Lubbock's public access channel.
"I think it's a great idea," says Lubbock resident Romelia Champion. Champion takes care of her six grandchildren while their parents work during the day. Champion doesn't have a computer and says putting sex offenders on television will make protecting her grandchildren easier. "Parents have the right to know. Sometimes I don't allow them to play in the yard just because it's scary who might be watching," says Champion.
The broadcast will be similar to what a cable access channel in Denver is doing to fight that city's prostitution problems. Boren says the broadcast will be informative, but also educational. After scrolling through the list of predators, the program will give educational tips on how you can avoid becoming a victim. "We'll have an educational component that uses 'Stranger Danger' to teach children, seniors what to look for," says Boren.
But this program isn't welcomed by everyone. Some say it's an invasion of privacy. Others say it's cruel and unusual punishment, and it's humiliating to those trying to turn their lives around.
However, popular opinion overwhelmingly favors this idea, and it will be a regular occurrence on Lubbock television within a few months.