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San Antonio police offer exemptions for sex offenders to enter and live near city parks

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SAN ANTONIO -- The San Antonio Police Department allows sex offenders to apply for an exemption to enter or live near a city park.

"Part of this story that we're doing here with you today also will serve as a reminder to people that this does in fact exist, " said Lt. Jesse Salame, with the San Antonio Police Department.

Salame tells News 4 San Antonio the exemption application for sex offenders was created 5 years ago when the City Council passed an ordinance back in December of 2013.

The Chief's decision is final whether to approve or deny, " added Salame.

The ordinance prohibits registered sex offenders from loitering within 300 feet of a park, living 1,000 feet from a park or entering one.

Since the ordinance took effect Salame says SAPD has received 39 applications, and 23 of them have been approved.

The majority of the applications were not from sex offenders wanting to go to a city park, but rather live near one.

"When the ordinance did go into effect people that were already living in these zones were grandfathered."

Salame went on to say if a sex offender is on probation or parole they would not qualify for an exemption, nor would a high risk offender.

"That would never be approved." SAPD has a strict process of approval, and also considers when the offense took place and how old the victim and offender were at the time.

Salame encourages everyone to check the state's sex offender registry to see who may be living next door.

"People are always very surprised when they pop in their zip code and they see names pop up in the areas that you wouldn't think, " said Salame.

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