When the village of Riverside joined the Global Information System (GIS) Consortium back in 2008, the main reason was for the village to map its water main and sewer systems, because it was so difficult to deal with bulky, outdated, sometimes inaccurate maps.
Since that time, Riverside has used GIS for a variety of projects, like mapping its stock of trees (including the location of certain species, including at risk ash trees) on public land.
On June 27, the Riverside Police Department rolled out another use for the system. The village now has a map, which can be updated within 24 hours, showing the location of registered sex offenders who live in Riverside and near its borders.
“It’s one more way for us to give residents as much information as we can,” said Police Chief Thomas Weitzel. “The intent of the map is to show the buffer zones. We don’t include exact addresses, because that was not the issue.”
In addition to red dots pinpointing the location of sex offenders in and near the village, the map also shows the 500-foot buffer zones around schools and public parks in which registered sex offenders are not allowed, by law, to live.
Riverside has just one sex offender living within its borders. The map shows another 13 sex offenders who live near its borders. Only one is shown to be close to one of the buffer zones, in Brookfield near Riverside-Brookfield High School.
According to Illinois law, sex offenders are required to register in person with their local police agency once a year for 10 years. Any change in address has to be registered within three days.
Those labeled as “sexually dangerous” or “sexually violent” are required to register in person every 90 days for alife. Those who fail to register can land back in jail. That was the case for former Riverside resident Marion L. Walton, who was registered as living on Ogden Avenue.
But since February 2010, Walton has been in Fulton County Jail in Lewiston, Ill., after being picked up on a warrant for failing to register. He’s being held on $250,000 bond with a court date “to be determined,” according to a jail spokesman.