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Kay Cooley, Forum News Service, Published April 17 2014

VIDEO: Hankinson considering new sex offender ordinance after sex offender moves to town

HANKINSON, N.D. - The tight-knit community of Hankinson is considering creating a sex offender ordinance, after a high risk offender moved to town.

Right now there are 31 sex offenders living in Richland County but 54-year-old William Hendricks is Hankinson's first.

"The town was a buzz," said Vanessa Mauch of Weeser Playschool.

Big talk is billowing through the small town of Hankinson after Hendricks made his home on Main Avenue.

"This is new to us," said Hankinson Mayor Joseph O'Meara.

"It's kind of scary working at the day care and knowing that there is this person here," Mauch said. "It's definitely makes your guard go up."

Weeser Playschool is right down the road and even though Hendricks has since moved a few miles out of town. Community members want to create restrictions so another sex offender can't move in.

"They've got rights and you're not trying to run them out of town, but there are certain sensitive areas where, it makes people nervous," O'Meara said.

The city ordinance would prohibit sex offenders from living within 800 feet of places like schools, playgrounds, and daycares. After measuring, that's only about four blocks away from the building.

"It definitely makes me nervous," Mauch said. "I know of kids who ride around on their bikes after school and at night."

The size of Hankinson is causing problems as well.

"If you start drawing the circles on a map, pretty soon it gets kind of tough," O'Meara said.

The sex offender ordinance has already passed its first reading. The city council will take it up again at a meeting next month, followed by a possible vote.